A PYMNTS Company

US: Lawsuit seeks $346 million from Health First

 |  July 24, 2016

Over a dozen Florida doctors and provider groups are seeking nearly $350 million from integrated system Health First for allegedly violating antitrust law in a trial scheduled to begin in August.

Multispecialty physician group Omni Healthcare and several physicians as well as provider groups allege that Health First maintains a monopoly by “intimidating physicians or otherwise obstructing their ability to practice medicine in southern Brevard County if they do not ‘play ball’ with Health First and refer their patients exclusively to Health First’s hospitals and physician specialists.”

Specifically, they allege that Health First’s 2013 acquisition of physician group Melbourne Internal Medicine Associates lessened competition in the region and increased the system’s monopoly in violation of antitrust law. The physicians and groups want the acquisition reversed and are seeking triple damages—a figure that could rise to as much as $346 million, said the plaintiffs’ attorney.

Health First also faces similar allegations in several other lawsuits, including one filed by public hospital Parrish Medical Center last year in state court. In that case, Parrish, operated by the North Brevard County Hospital District, alleges that Health First requires its doctors to admit and refer almost exclusively to its own facilities.

Full Content: Modern Healthcare

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.