LET’S TAKE IT TO COURT AND SEE WHO WINS!
The Insite received this release about the battle between two local hospitals. It’s surely going to generate fireworks in the courtroom. I’m hoping I get to cover it. Here are the details:
The 109 founding physician-owners of the now defunct Houston Town & Country Hospital have filed a claim in Harris County District Court accusing the senior leadership of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System of illegally engineering the hospital’s demise. According to the petition filed before Harris County District Judge John Donovan, Memorial Hermann’s executive leadership coerced local insurers into a group boycott against Town & Country. This group boycott meant patients covered by those companies could not be treated at Town & Country. Memorial Hermann’s group boycott has caused damages that may exceed $100,000,000.
“Memorial Hermann’s monopolistic acts put this hospital out of business, harming not only these
doctors and the three-hundred dedicated hospital employees who lost their jobs, but countless
Houstonians who would benefit from greater choice and greater price competition when seeking
health care,” said attorney Rusty Hardin.
Apparently due to a lack of confidence that they can successfully rebut the allegations in the
lawsuit, Memorial Hermann’s lawyers rushed to federal court demanding that U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon declare that the system did nothing wrong. This federal lawsuit was filed
several days before the doctors went to state court. “Like the boy who murders his parents and pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan, this raises ‘chutzpah’ to an entirely new level,” said Hardin.
Houston Town & Country Hospital opened on Houston’s west side near the intersection of
Interstate 10 and the Sam Houston Tollway in November 2005. The facility was state of the art
and the physician-owners who practiced there were among the finest this community has to
offer. The hospital folded at the end of 2006.
“First they threatened us, before we even opened the hospital,” said Dr. Robert Vanzant, one of
the 109 physician investors in Houston Town & Country Hospital. “They said they would crush
us. When that didn’t stop us, they started threatening the insurance companies.”
“Every insurer we spoke with was interested in working with us. Every insurer that toured the
hospital acknowledged that it was an excellent and necessary facility. Then they backed out
and multiple credible sources, even some within Memorial Hermann, acknowledge that it is
because they were threatened.” “This was illegal, immoral and cowardly, especially for a hospital system that pays no taxes because it claims to be a charitable organization,” Vanzant said.