Judge Drops Suit Alleging Antitrust Violations by Sutter in Northern Calif.
On Monday, a San Francisco District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit against Sutter Health that alleged the company violated antitrust laws by using anti-competitive practices in Northern California, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Details of the Lawsuit
In September 2012, two Northern California residents filed a class-action lawsuit against Sutter, claiming that they and other residents enrolled in health plans that had contracts with Sutter paid at least thousands of dollars more annually because of anti-competitive conduct by the health system.
The lawsuit argued that the company imposed contract arrangements that required health plans to use Sutter health care providers or affiliated physicians even if there were lower-priced alternatives, or be denied access to all Sutter providers.
Details of Ruling
U.S. Magistrate Laurel Beeler dismissed the suit, saying there was not enough proof to substantiate the allegations.
However, the judge allowed the plaintiffs 28 days to amend their complaint.
Azra Mehdi, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said they intend to file an amended complaint.
Mehdi added that if the court dismisses the amended complaint, the plaintiffs will appeal the decision.In a statement, Bill Gleeson -- spokesperson for Sutter Health -- said the company is "pleased with the court's decision" (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 6/6). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.