Health Care System Hit With Antitrust Suit

     (CN) – The Justice Department sued Carolinas Healthcare System, challenging its practice of imposing steering restrictions in contracts with commercial health insurers.
     In a June 9 complaint filed in Charlotte Federal Court, the DOJ claims the healthcare system, which dominates acute inpatient care in the Charlotte area, has forced commercial insurers to sign contracts forbidding them to encourage patients to use lower-priced, higher-quality services.
     The lawsuit asks the court to declare the contracts in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and to enjoin the healthcare system from enforcing them.
     The case was filed by Paul Torzilli of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.
     In a written statement, Carolinas HealthCare System said it is committed to fair competition and looks forward to presenting its position in court.
     “Our arrangements with insurers are similar to those in place between insurers and healthcare systems across the country,” the statement said. “We have neither violated any law nor deviated from accepted healthcare industry practices for contracting and negotiation.”

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