St. Fran­cis cleared in ri­val’s $300 mil­lion an­titrust suit

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Erica Te­ichert

A fed­eral ap­peals court re­fused to re­vive a $300 mil­lion law­suit ac­cus­ing St. Fran­cis Med­i­cal Cen­ter of vi­o­lat­ing an­titrust laws by carv­ing other Peo­ria, Ill., providers out of its ex­clu­sive con­tracts with com­mer­cial in­sur­ers.

A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals ruled that St. Fran­cis’ in­surer con­tracts did not have a sig­nif­i­cant ex­clu­sion­ary ef­fect on other hos­pi­tals in the Peo­ria mar- ket. St. Fran­cis’ main ri­val, Methodist Health Ser­vices Corp., sued the 616bed hospi­tal in 2013, al­leg­ing its in­surer con­tracts hurt com­pe­ti­tion in the area. The law­suit al­leged the con­tracts forced pay­ers and con­sumers to pay $300 mil­lion more in health­care costs than they would in a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

But none of the other four hos­pi­tals in the re­gion nor the in­sur­ers joined Methodist’s suit, the court noted, and Methodist has its own ex­clu­sive con­tracts with in­sur­ers as well.

“Methodist is not the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of any in­surer or of any con­sumer; it’s sim­ply an un­suc­cess­ful com­peti­tor

with a hospi­tal that of­fers pa­tients in­sured by health in­surance com­pa­nies more health­care than it does,” Judge Richard Pos­ner wrote for the panel.

St. Fran­cis has the only Level 1 trauma cen­ter in the re­gion and also pro­vides in­pa­tient ser­vices that other hos­pi­tals in the area can’t, such as neona­tal in­ten­sive care and solid-or­gan trans­plants. Pos­ner said it was “no sur­prise” that some com­mer­cial in­sur­ers have sought ex­clu­sive re­la­tion­ships with St. Fran­cis.

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