Feds dou­ble down on lawsuit against Caroli­nas Health­Care

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Erica Te­ichert

The U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment urged a North Car­olina fed­eral judge to take a closer look at Caroli­nas Health­Care Sys­tem’s steer­ing pro­vi­sions in in­surer con­tracts and to ig­nore the health sys­tem’s pleas for a quick es­cape from the govern­ment’s lawsuit.

Al­though the feds re­cently suf­fered a loss in a sim­i­lar con­tract ar­range­ment suit in­volv­ing Amer­i­can Ex­press in the 2nd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals, the Jus­tice Depart­ment says that de­ci­sion holds no bear­ing on the Caroli­nas case and doesn’t un­der­mine its chal­lenge against these deals. The Jus­tice Depart­ment al­leges that the 10-hos­pi­tal sys­tem based in Char­lotte, N.C., used anti-com­pet­i­tive steer­ing pro­vi­sions in its con­tracts with four ma­jor North Car­olina in­sur­ers to en­sure pa­tients would come to their hos­pi­tals.

Aetna Health of the Caroli­nas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Car­olina, Cigna Health­care of North Car­olina and Unit­edHealth­care of North Car­olina hold 85% of the com­mer­cial in­sur­ance mar­ket in the Char­lotte area, ac­cord­ing to the feds.

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