Four Colorado ASCs File Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against Health Systems, Alleging Anti-Competitive Activities

Four Colorado ambulatory surgery centers have filed an anti-trust lawsuit against HCA, HCA-HealthOne, Centura Health, the Colorado Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, alleging anti-competitive activities and restraint of trade agreements, according to a Modern Healthcare report.

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, the ASC plaintiffs accuse the defendant hospital systems of abusing market share power to persuade Kaiser not to sign a contract previously negotiated with one of the surgery centers. The ASC plaintiffs also allege that the health systems used their clout to influence health insurance companies against letting the ASCs into their provider networks.

The lawsuit called HealthOne's stance "antagonistic to the competition it is facing from the plaintiff facilities." Linda Kanamine, a spokesperson for HealthOne, said the company disagrees with the claims and is prepared to defend the case.

The lawsuit also alleges that the defendant systems have conspired to take over the state ASC association. Rob Schwartz, executive director of the Colorado Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, denied any wrongdoing on the association's part. The lawsuit alleges that the association hosted an Aug. 30, 2012 meeting where Centura representatives provided "misinformation" about the plaintiff ASCs to other payors.

Centura also denied any wrongdoing. Spokesman Andrew Wineke said the system is "confident Centura Health has not violated any federal or state laws."

The four ASCs involved are Kissing Camels Surgery Center in Colorado Springs, Cherry Creek Surgery Center and Hampden Surgery Center in Denver, and Arapahoe Surgery Center in Englewood.

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