The U.S. Justice Department has halted its seven-month investigation of several dozen northern Kentucky physicians accused of conspiring to drop out of the Medicaid program.
Bill Brooks, a spokesman for the Justice Department's antitrust division in Washington, said last week that the probe has been closed and no action will be taken against the doctors. He refused to comment further.
Attorney Robert Craig, who represented the Northern Kentucky Medical Society during the probe, said he was told by a Justice Department attorney that the investigation was being closed.
"They didn't give any reasons why they closed it or talk about their findings," Craig said. "They just said it's over. We're glad. We knew all along they didn't have a case."
The Justice Department tried to determine whether about 50 doctors violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by dropping out of the Medicaid program in protest against state healthcare policies.
The doctors were accused of collusion-secretly conspiring to act in concert in dropping out of the Medi-caid program. They began dropping out early last year to protest a tax on healthcare providers and a cut in Medicaid reimbursements. Many claimed that with lower reimbursement fees and higher taxes, they could no longer afford to treat Medi-caid patients.
Many of the doctors are continuing to see their existing Medicaid patients but have refused new ones.
Gov. Paul Patton and key lawmakers in the General Assembly are pledging to remove the tax on doctors, which raises about $40 million a year and costs doctors an average of $10,000 annually.