Hospital Sued For Restraint of Trade, Monopolization & Unfair Competition

This is an action for restraint of trade, unlawful monopolization, and unfair methods of competition seeking classwide damages and injunctive and equitable relief under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1 et seq., and Wisconsin’s antitrust laws, Wis. Stat. §§ 133.01 et seq

By Doug Aldeen, Attorney at Law

Change is coming to the hospital market. In Wisconsin, I’m pleased to share news of our antitrust case against Advocate Aurora. I’ve been partnering with the team at Fairmark, who specialize in data-driven hospital antitrust cases, on this case.

Today, a class action antitrust lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging that Advocate Aurora has abused its dominant status in Eastern Wisconsin to suppress competition and raise prices to levels that are unsustainable for Wisconsin employers.

The 75-page complaint alleges Advocate Aurora is by far the most expensive health system in Eastern Wisconsin and that its high prices are a key reason that Milwaukee’s healthcare prices are higher than New York City and 44% above the national average.

It comes on the heels of Advocate Aurora’s announcement that it will seek to move its headquarters to North Carolina after merging with Atrium Health, a multi-billion dollar healthcare conglomerate on the East Coast.

For example, the complaint alleges that, for a common commercial plan, Advocate Aurora’s negotiated price for a knee replacement is $62,538 – more than $21,000 higher than the price at a competitor hospital five minutes away. A colonoscopy with biopsy will cost an employer health plan over $10,700 at Advocate Aurora but only about $4,700 at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, a facility that is 15 minutes away with generally higher quality ratings. The complaint alleges that these prices would not be possible without Advocate Aurora’s use of anticompetitive negotiating and contracting tactics that prevent price transparency and competition, patient choice, and cost-savings.

Click on the link below for pleadings: