THE ATTORNEY GENERAL GOES AFTER AND GETS A SETTLEMENT FROM MEMORIAL HERMANN!

THE BATTLE BETWEEN DAVID AND GOLIATH CONTINUES!

Attorneys representing individual physicians and the physician partnership in litigation against Houston’s Memorial Hermann Healthcare System praised the announcement that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed suit against Memorial Hermann alleging similar violations of the state antitrust laws.

The Attorney General’s Office and Memorial Hermann also entered into an agreed injunction prohibiting Memorial Hermann from engaging in certain practices that the Attorney General alleged unreasonably restrained competition in violation of Texas antitrust laws.

Attorney General Abbott yesterday filed suit and later issued a news release outlining his office’s findings that Memorial Hermann engaged in anticompetitive behavior through an organized insurer boycott against Houston Town & Country Hospital, a competing hospital owned by physicians. In addition to agreeing to an injunction, Memorial Hermann also agreed to pay the state $700,000 for the cost of the investigation and agreed to abide by a number of other stipulations, including a five-year monitoring period during which Memorial Hermann must not pursue similar anticompetitive actions.

Attorney Rusty Hardin of Houston’s Rusty Hardin & Associates and Richard Zook of Houston’s Thompson & Knight are representing the doctors and physician partnership that started Houston Town & Country Hospital. The litigation contends that Memorial Hermann engaged in improper acts against the doctors and the hospital by engaging in anticompetitive practices. Those practices include coercing insurance companies to boycott the smaller, start-up hospital and, as a result, depriving many patients and their doctors from using the hospital.

R20;This is a huge victory for the doctors who built Town & Country Hospital, and for the general public seeking quality health care at competitive prices. The AG’s office should be congratulated for taking such a bold, non-political action on behalf of consumers,” says Hardin.

R20;Although the AGR17;s findings validate our claims of unlawful conduct by Memorial Hermann, the doctors’ civil case against Memorial Hermann is set for a jury trial in late March 2009,” says Zook. “We look forward to showing the jury the entire story of Memorial Hermann’s improper actions that damaged these doctors, their patients and the public at large.”

A copy of the final judgment and news release from the Attorney General’s Office can be found at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagNews/release.php?print=1&id=2812.