An antitrust lawsuit against 204-bed Rome (N.Y.) Memorial Hospital will proceed toward trial after a federal judge last week refused to dismiss it. The suit, filed in January 2001 by 23 physicians, accuses the hospital of illegal practices aimed at driving the physicians' surgery center out of business. The Rome Ambulatory Surgery Center closed just weeks after the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Syracuse. According to the lawsuit, the hospital contracted with health plans to exclude the surgery center from business, intimidated physicians to keep them from using the center and acted to terminate staff privileges for doctors with investments in competing facilities. The hospital has denied it engaged in illegal practices. It is the only acute-care provider in Rome and was the only ambulatory surgery provider until the center opened in 1999. An attorney for the hospital, Thomas Buckel of the Hancock & Estabrook, Syracuse, N.Y., said the ruling will have a marginal impact on the outcome of the suit. "This has nothing to do with the merits of the case," Buckel said. A trial date has not been set. -- by Mark Taylor
Doctors' suit against N.Y. hospital advances
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