Peoria Hospitals’ Deals Break Antitrust Law, Doctor Says

Stay current on the latest developments from agencies including the CFPB, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC to advise clients on real-life regulatory situations.

By Eleanor Tyler

A nephrologist asked the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois to order three nonprofit hospitals in Peoria, Ill., to abandon plans to turn over in-patient dialysis services to one practice group exclusively.

Dr. Saadur Rahman’s Aug. 1 complaint contends that the deal, which will allow only a group called Renal Care Associates to provide acute hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and plasmapheresis in the hospitals, is illegal exclusive dealing that restrains trade for those services and monopolizes them in favor of the 17 doctors that form Renal Care Associates.

The hospitals, Methodist Health Services Corp., Proctor Health Care Inc., and Pekin Memorial Hospital, told Rahman in May that they would be terminating his privileges to provide dialysis services when the exclusive contract with Renal Group starts Aug. 1. The hospitals are all part of the same group, UnityPoint Health.

The only other hospital in Peoria, Saint Francis Medical Center, already has an exclusive deal with Renal Group, Rahman said. So he and any other nephrologist who isn’t part of Renal Group will be entirely shut out of the dialysis market as of Aug. 1. The inevitable effect, he argued, will be an increase in prices the hospital charges for dialysis services and to deprive patients from choosing any doctor outside of the exclusive contractor, Renal Group.

He asked the court to enter an immediate temporary restraining order against the hospitals terminating his privileges and an injunction against them imposing the exclusive arrangement in the future. He’s also seeking treble damages under federal antitrust law, and brings a number of state antitrust and tort claims.

The case is Rahman v. Methodist Health Services Corp. , C.D. Ill., No. 18-cv-01290, 8/1/18 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Eleanor Tyler in Washington at etyler@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com

Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Request Antitrust on Bloomberg Law