'Campaign of intimidation' forced physicians into restrictive employment, lawsuit alleges

Hartford, Conn.-based Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center filed a lawsuit Jan. 11 that alleges Hartford HealthCare used anticompetitive tactics to acquire physician practices.

Hartford acquired several primary care physicians and specialists in communities it serves in recent years, and the lawsuit alleges physicians who join the system are unable to refer patients outside of the Harford network. The lawsuit also accuses Hartford of telling physicians they would recruit doctors to compete against them if they didn't join the system.

"Hartford HealthCare's acquisitions have been aided by its campaign of intimidation. Hartford HealthCare has told some physicians that if they did not agree to join its practice, that Hartford HealthCare would 'crush' them," the lawsuit says.

Hartford HealthCare issued a statement saying the lawsuit is "without merit" and the system plans to defend itself against the allegations, according to The CT Mirror.

Saint Francis asked the court to require Hartford to end "anticompetitive conduct" and divest of physician practices it purchased in 2020 or after.

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