Texas physician group, hospital sue cardiologist for alleged anticompetitive conduct 

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Doctors Hospital of Laredo, Texas, and the Laredo Physicians Group filed a lawsuit against an interventional cardiologist alleging anticompetitive conduct. 

According to the suit, in August 2020 the physician group and hospital began recruiting cardiologists. Laredo currently has only eight cardiologists, six of which are interventional cardiologists, despite the city having more than 260,000 residents.

The suit alleges Ricardo Cigarroa, MD, entered a conspiracy with Cigarroa Institute, a cardiology outpatient clinic, and Laredo Medical Center to engage in "anticompetitive and tortious behavior" to stop recruitment efforts. 

Dr. Cigarroa allegedly issued threats to Doctors Hospital, Laredo Physicians Group and prospective interventional cardiologists being recruited. According to the suit, the prospective cardiologists then decided not to join the physician group. 

The suit also claims that Dr. Cigarroa, his son and his nephew, all interventional cardiologists, informed Doctors Hospital that they would "no longer respond" to emergency calls at the hospital.

The suit also said the defendants targeted Arthur Santos, MD, Laredo's only cardiovascular surgeon, encouraging him to breach his noncompete agreement. 

"This lawsuit is a dispute between a for-profit corporation and a physician who has demonstrated over 30 years of commitment to his patients and patient care in this community," Dr. Cigarroa said in a statement to the Laredo Times on Nov. 9. "It's unfortunate that the executives [at] Doctors Hospital have chosen to put profit above the well-being of their patients and employees."

 

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