6/4/09 “Messenger model” IPA busted!

The FTC today announced that it has entered into a consent agreement with Alta Bates Medical Group, Inc., a 600-physician multi-specialty IPA serving Berkeley and Oakland, California, to settle charges that Alta Bates fixed prices charged to health care insurers and refused to deal with insurers on other than a collective basis.  According to the FTC, the IPA did not employ a lawful messenger model, but instead collectively negotiated on behalf of its physicians (1) by making proposals and counter-proposals, as well as rejecting or accepting offers, without consulting with its individual physician members regarding the prices they unilaterally would accept; and (2) without transmitting the payors’ offers to its individual physicians until Alta Bates had approved the negotiated prices.  In addition, the complaint alleged that Alta Bates engaged in a concerted refusal to deal to impede competition with Permanente Medical Group by refusing to serve Kaiser fee-for-service enrollees. 
Materials regarding this consent are available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0510260/index.shtm
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Dennis Hursh

Dennis Hursh

Dennis Hursh has been providing healthcare legal services in Pennsylvania since 1982. Since 1992, he has been Managing Partner of Hursh & Hursh, P.C. Dennis is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, where he is involved in the Physician Organizations Substantive Law Committee. In addition, he is a member of the American Bar Association’s Health Law Section. He also serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Health Law Section, where he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Professional Providers.

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