Department Of Justice Reaches Settlement With United Regional
The Department of Justice announced on Friday that it reached a settlement in the civil antitrust lawsuit against United Regional Hospital that prohibits it from entering into contracts that improperly inhibit commercial health insurers from contracting with United Regional’s competitors. Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division said,
"Unfettered competition among hospitals is vital to ensuring that patients receive high-quality, low-cost health care. "Today’s settlement prevents a dominant hospital from using its market power to harm consumers by undermining its competitors’ ability to compete in the marketplace."
The following was included in a release by The Department of Justice,
"The proposed settlement, which if accepted by the court would be in effect for seven years, restores lost competition by prohibiting United Regional from using agreements with commercial health insurers that improperly inhibit insurers from contracting with United Regional’s competitors. In particular, United Regional is prohibited from conditioning the prices or discounts that it offers to commercial health insurers based on whether those insurers contract with other health-care providers and from inhibiting insurers from entering into agreements with United Regional’s rivals. United Regional is also prohibited from taking any retaliatory actions against an insurer that enters into an agreement with a rival provider."
United Regionals President and Chief Executive Officer, Phyllis Cowling, also released a statement on Friday with the Title "United Regional Pleased With Resolution". Cowling's statement, in part, began with the following,
"While we disagree with the Department’s interpretation of the facts and would have welcomed the opportunity to address this matter in a court of law, we believe it is in the best interest of United Regional and our patients to instead move forward with our total attention and resources focused on our passion of providing excellence in health care for the communities we serve. We have therefore reached agreement with the Department regarding the resolution of their concern, and this settlement will be entered into U.S. District Court records as an agreed-to final judgment to the Department’s complaint."