A public hospital in Hammond, La., did not violate antitrust law by demanding that contracts with managed-care companies exclude a competing surgery center, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed today. In a case that has slogged through the legal system for five years, the panel unanimously upheld a January 2001 U.S. District Court ruling that 215-bed North Oaks Medical Center did not practice predatory behavior or attempt to monopolize the area outpatient surgery market. The district-owned hospital is managed by Quorum Health Resources, now a division of Triad Hospitals. The Surgical Care Center of Hammond, doing business as St. Luke's Surgicenter, alleged in a 1997 lawsuit that the hospital used illegal tying arrangements to monopolize the outpatient surgery market. North Oaks' attorney, Dan Mulholland of Horty, Springer & Mattern, Pittsburgh, said the panel's decision shows that hospitals can take legal actions to protect their business from physician-owned competitors. North Oaks officials could not be reached for comment by deadline. St. Luke's officials declined to comment. -- by Mark Taylor
La. hospital defeats surgery center in antitrust case
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