Surgical Care Affiliates faces collusion charges

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Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates faces two charges of collusion after the company allegedly reached agreements with two competitors to not recruit each other's senior-level employees, the Department of Justice announced Jan. 7. 

The DOJ claims SCA made agreements with healthcare companies to suppress competition for senior-level employees beginning in May 2010 and ending in October 2017. These alleged arrangements are in violation of the Sherman Act. SCA allegedly had agreements with an unnamed company in Texas from May 2010 to October 2017 and one in Colorado from February 2012 to July 2017. 

Elizabeth Castro, SCA spokesperson, issued the following statement: "The position taken by the government in this matter represents a novel application of the antitrust laws as they relate to employee recruitment, for which there is no precedent or foundation. This matter involves alleged conduct seven years before UnitedHealth Group acquired SCA and does not involve any SCA ambulatory surgery centers, their joint owners, physician partners, current leadership or any other UnitedHealth Group companies. SCA disagrees with the government's position, and will vigorously defend itself against these unjustified allegations." 

The violations carry a maximum penalty of $100 million. A judge can increase the fine to twice the amount earned from the crime or two times the loss suffered by the victims if either amount is more than the fine. 

Read the DOJ release here

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