Anesthesia group claims UnitedHealthcare shut them out of Optum ASCs: 4 details

U.S. Anesthesia Partners, a Dallas-based physician-owned anesthesia practice, filed a lawsuit against UnitedHealthcare March 31 over claims of anti-competitive actions, among other actions, according to The New York Times.

Four details:

1. U.S. Anesthesia, backed by private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, accused UnitedHealthcare of forcing OptumCare ASCs and clinics to cut ties with the company, according to the lawsuit.

2. U.S. Anesthesia also said UnitedHealthcare forced its physicians out of network and pressured surgeons and hospitals to refer patients away from the company. UnitedHealthcare told the Times private equity-backed firms, like U.S. Anesthesia, often expect double or triple the median rate for services, which is why the two organizations were unable to agree upon an in-network contract.

3. UnitedHealthcare has ownership in a large emergency and anesthesia services practice, Sound Physicians, which competes with U.S. Anesthesia. The lawsuit accuses Sound Physicians of trying to poach U.S. Anesthesia physicians as well.

4. UnitedHealthcare told the Times that the lawsuit was an effort to pressure the insurance company into paying higher rates.

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