LAKE TAHOE: IPA Settles Antitrust Charges
The North Lake Tahoe Medical Group of Truckee has settled charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission "that it tried to stop the spread of managed care" in the region, Modern Healthcare reports. The FTC contended that the IPA illegally boycotted Blue Shield of California when 24 of the group's doctors withdrew from the Blue PPO after it refused to raise premiums to pay for increased physician reimbursement rates. In settling the charges, the IPA signed a consent decree barring it from "engaging in various anti-competitive activities," such as "conspiring to negotiate with payers," "refusing to deal with any payer" and "exchanging information" with other physicians regarding payer contracts. The IPA also agreed to fire physicians who do not rejoin or attempt to rejoin the Blue Shield PPO. Modern Healthcare reports that in signing the decree, "the physicians did not admit to violating federal antitrust law" (Jaklevic, 3/29 issue).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.