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Physician practice association settles allegations of price-fixing

Posted by Frank Spector | Jun 05, 2009 | 0 Comments

Modern Healthcare (6/5, Blesch) reports, “The Federal Trade Commission announced that Alta Bates Medical Group, a 600-physician independent practice association in California's East Bay Area, has agreed to a consent order settling allegations that its involvement in negotiations with payers amounted to price-fixing.” The FTC alleged that “Alta Bates Medical Group purported to engage in the legal practice of relaying contract offers and responses between health plans and its member physicians but in fact determined the rates and terms that were asked for and accepted, without soliciting input from members.” The association also “discouraged members from dealing independently with health plans with whom the association negotiated contracts.” Under the order, the association “would be prohibited from negotiating or refusing to deal with payers on behalf of its members, and it would have to notify the FTC before initiating contact with health plans regarding contracts.”

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