A high-profile lawsuit against Atrium Health comes to an end
A group of doctors who took the unusual step of suing Atrium Health to enable them to break away from the Charlottebased hospital system dropped their case Friday.
In April, about 90 physicians in Atrium’s Mecklenburg Medical Group practice sued to get out of Atrium non-compete restrictions so they could practice independently. Friday’s action formally ended the litigation in the wake of Atrium announcing in April that it would end employment agreements with the physicians on Sept. 1.
A spokesman for the doctors could not immediately be reached for comment.
A statement issued by Atrium said the system has been working for the past several months with the doctors forming the stand-alone practice, which will be called Tryon Medical Partners.
The statement said letters will be sent to patients “to provide the information they need to make decisions about their medical care following this transition.”
The doctors have said they will separate from Atrium on Aug. 31 and begin serving patients Sept 4.
The split is a rarity in Charlotte and elsewhere, as the trend nationally has been for hospitals and insurance companies to gobble up independent practices.
Atrium acquired Mecklenburg Medical Group, one of its best-known practices, in 1993. The group’s specialties include cardiology, dermatology, pulmonology and sleep medicine.
In their suit, the doctors accused Atrium of monop- olistic and anti-competitive behavior, including ordering doctors in most instances to refer patients needing further care to Atrium-owned or managed facilities.
Atrium has said it remains an attractive employer that continues to hire talented workers, and it is not aware of any other doctors groups with plans to leave. It has also said its physician turnover rate is below national figures.
A group of doctors who sued this year to break away from Atrium dropped their case Friday against the Charlotte-based hospital system.