City Sues Doctors’ Group Over Exclusivity Contracts
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Monday filed a lawsuit against the city's second largest doctors' network, Brown & Toland Medical Group, alleging unfair business practices in an attempt to "coerce" Chinese doctors into signing exclusivity agreements, the San Francisco Examiner reports. (Jouvenal, San Francisco Examiner, 4/11).
Brown & Toland is asking doctors in the Chinese Community Health Care Association to sign exclusive contracts that would provide financial incentives and administrative services but require them to resign from other physicians' groups.
CCHCA includes about 160 bilingual physicians who work at Chinese and other hospitals in San Francisco. About 20,000 of the association's 27,000 patients are insured through the Chinese Community Health Plan or the San Francisco Health Plan for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and the uninsured. Brown & Toland doctors do not accept either plan (California Healthline, 4/10).
Herrera said in a statement that Brown & Toland's "business practices are unfair, anticompetitive and illegal." San Francisco County Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) also have called on the network to stop the exclusivity agreements.
The CCHCA and Chinese Hospital, the last independent private hospital in the city, are the co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/11).
Brown & Toland's statement in response to the lawsuit is available on its Web site (San Francisco Examiner, 4/11).