Michigan anesthesia practice halts health system's illegal hiring practices

Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor (Mich.) was granted a temporary restraining order from Trinity Health, preventing the health system from contacting any of the practice's clinicians for employment reasons.

What you should know:

1. Anesthesia Associates alleged Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health ignored its contract obligation and valid noncompete agreements by reaching out to its anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists to hire them.

2. Trinity Health President and CEO Rob Casalou allegedly emailed all of Anesthesia Associates' clinicians and CRNAs, on Aug. 15, offering them jobs at Trinity. Anesthesia Associates alleged this was a direct violation of the contract between the two parties.

3. A Circuit Court of Washtenaw County judge agreed, granting Anesthesia Associates the temporary restraining order Aug. 16.

4. Anesthesia Associates also made several antitrust allegations in its lawsuit. Mr. Casalou serves on the board of Michigan's largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Anesthesia Associates alleged the arrangement created a conflict of interest.

"We continue to stand up and advocate for our doctors and stand up against the poor behavior of Trinity Health, who has made it clear, based on our refusal to waive our exclusive rights, non-competes and non-solicitation provisions that they are demanding, that they want to avoid any future negotiation by taking our doctors away from us," said Anesthesia Associates CEO Gregory Bock.

5. Trinity Health Michigan issued a statement to Becker's: "A4 seeks by its lawsuit to prevent its doctors from becoming employed by Trinity Health Michigan and continuing to work at our hospitals if they desire to do so. We are working to give the anesthesiologists choice of where they work in the communities they serve. The non-competes A4 has with their physicians and the non-solicitation clause — the provisions which we are disputing — do not give their physicians this choice. These physicians should have a choice, and our patients deserve seamless care, with no disruption in services and fear of any surprise billing or uncovered payment as a result of A4's actions."

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