FTC in charge of antitrust
In an agreement long in the works, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department announced last week that the FTC would take over most healthcare antitrust issues, including primary civil antitrust enforcement for all healthcare matters except insurance. The agencies abruptly canceled a press conference on the agreement in January but posted the agreement on the FTC's Web site earlier this month (March 4, p. 14).
Estate to pay settlement
The estate of a prominent Chattanooga, Tenn., businessman will pay part of a $15.2 million settlement to the federal government nearly three years after the man's death; the settlement resolves a civil lawsuit under the False Claims Act, the U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month. Tom Rogers and his wife, Gayle, allegedly earned as much as $30 million in illegal profits from false claims to Medicare from 1990 to 1993, when they operated a management company called Alpha Medical. Alpha provided management services to Superior Home Health Care, a network of six home health centers across Tennessee that were formed by Rogers and run by his "relatives, his best friend and others indebted to him," the federal government alleged.
Calif. medical groups protected
The California Department of Managed Care can't collect or disclose the financial records of the state's medical groups, a Superior Court judge in Sacramento ruled last week, siding with the state medical association. The department argued the public had a right to know more details of medical groups' financial status than simply whether groups meet solvency standards. The association contended the department's plans exceeded its authority and that medical groups would suffer in negotiations with health plans if detailed financial information was disclosed.