With the specter of a private antitrust lawsuit gone, Aurora Health Care is continuing its talks with a group of Green Bay, Wis., doctors about building a new hospital there.
Aurora has a letter of intent, which expires at the end of the month, to negotiate with BayCare Health Systems, a Green Bay multispecialty clinic with more than 80 physicians.
"The discussions are quite active, but I don't think we'll know until a month from now where we're at," said Diane De La Santos, spokeswoman for Aurora, a 13-hospital system headquartered in Milwaukee.
Besides the possibility of a new hospital, other options being discussed include a new diagnostic center and a medical office building.
"It's going very well. We expect things to move forward," said Jerry Vokracka, spokesman for BayCare.
Formal negotiations between Aurora and BayCare began last year, just two months after Aurora was sued by another Green Bay provider, Bellin Health Systems, which operates 167-bed Bellin Hospital, (Dec. 7, 1998, p. 28). But Aurora and Bellin settled that lawsuit in January, De La Santos said.
She declined to discuss settlement terms, citing a confidentiality agreement. A Bellin spokesman also would not discuss the settlement.
Bellin, which filed the lawsuit in August in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee, alleged that a 1997 partnership with Aurora violated federal antitrust laws and restrained trade.
Bellin wanted out of the deal to pursue other partnerships. It got its wish.
Bellin and Aurora are no longer partners, "leaving the two organizations free to pursue their missions individually or in strategic relationships with others," De La Santos said.