Private equity backer dismissed from US Anesthesia Partners antitrust suit

A federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission may proceed with a lawsuit against anesthesiology practice manager U.S. Anesthesia Partners, but its creator, private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, may be dismissed from the case. 

The FTC first filed a lawsuit against USAP and its creator in 2023, alleging that the two groups executed a multiyear anticompetitive scheme to consolidate anesthesiology practices in Texas, hike up the price of anesthesia services provided to Texas patients and increase their own profits. Since its creation in 2012, USAP has acquired more than a dozen anesthesiology practices in Texas. 

On April 3, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt ruled that the FTC had not effectively demonstrated how Welsh Carson as a minority investor in the acquisitions was actively violating competition law.

Mr. Hoyt ruled that the FTC could continue to press its case against USAP, stating that it "has plausibly alleged acquisitions resulting in higher prices for consumers."

Both USAP and Welsh Carson have denied all antitrust claims. 

In a statement, USAP physician and board member Scott Holliday said Mr. Hoyt’s ruling "does not change our belief that the FTC's claims are without merit. We look forward to demonstrating this as the case proceeds and are confident in our position."

"We are gratified that the court dismissed the FTC’s case against Welsh Carson in its entirety. As we have said from the beginning, this case was without factual or legal basis," a spokesperson from the firm told Becker's in a statement. 

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