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Sutter Health to Pay $575 Million to Settle Antitrust Lawsuit

The New York Times

December 20, 2019

The deal resolves allegations of anti-competitive behavior by the large hospital system in Northern California.

Sutter Health, the large hospital system in Northern California, said Friday that it had agreed to pay $575 million to settle claims of anti-competitive behavior brought by the California state attorney general as well as unions and employers.

In addition to the settlement amount — which will go to compensate employers, unions and the state and federal governments — Sutter will also be prohibited from engaging in several practices that the state attorney general and others said the hospital system used to ensure its dominance.

It will be barred from so-called “all or nothing” agreements, which the attorney general said required insurers to include all of Sutter’s medical facilities if they wanted to include some of the system’s hospitals. And it will be required to limit what it can charge patients for out-of-network services, which the state said would prevent people from facing surprise medical bills.

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The UFCW & Employers Benefit, the group of unions and employers who also brought the suit, said in a statement: “From the outset, our goal has been to not only achieve justice for the members of the class, but to also put an end to the anticompetitive behavior that has allowed Sutter to charge inflated prices.”

. . .

The settlement will need to be approved by a court, and a hearing is scheduled for Feb. 25 in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco. An independent monitor will ensure the agreement is followed.

Cohen Milstein is one of five firms representing the Plaintiff Class.  A statement from the UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust can be viewed here.

Read Sutter Health to Pay $575 Million to Settle Antitrust Lawsuit.