Clients seek our help with matters concerning state and federal antitrust laws, including investigations and claims initiated by government agencies (the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Antitrust Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's Office) and the defense and prosecution of private claims.
We represent health care providers in connection with antitrust rules and advise clients in regard to the joint DOJ/FTC guidelines as they relate to a variety of transactions, including the operation of co-ops, the use of wage survey information (including the application of the relevant safe harbor), and whether the integration of the business of health care providers is sufficient to permit joint contracting under the applicable "at risk" and/or "clinical integration" guidelines that permit such collaborative efforts under a rule-of-reason standard.
Our representations regularly require us to apply federal and state antitrust laws in such areas as the enforcement of exclusive contracts (for example, we have represented hospital clients regarding efforts by the American Red Cross to enforce exclusive contract provisions for blood bank services), group boycotts, collective refusals to deal, and, most frequently, price-fixing. We also represent hospitals and IPAs in connection with a variety of issues in which associations of physicians and other providers seek to resolve with IPAs, HMOs and/or hospitals on a collaborative basis.
We played a substantial role in the formation of the Long Island Health Network, the first collaborative effort among hospitals based upon the clinical integration strategy described in Statement 8 of the Guidelines. Our defense of the network against an inquiry by the Antitrust Bureau of the New York Attorney General's office resulted in a closed investigation with no claims filed.
We represented a large independent practice association before the Federal Trade Commission in support of its request for an advisory opinion concerning whether its clinical integration plan was sufficient to allow collective negotiation among its members.