The Federal Trade Commission settled price-fixing and restraint-of-trade allegations against 38-physician Carlsbad (N.M.) Physician Association in a May 2 consent decree that dissolved the physician organization and prohibited its former officials from negotiating with health plans on behalf of any physician for three years. The organization was formed in 1998 to help physicians bargain collectively with health plans and represented 83% of all primary care physicians and 76% of all physicians in the Carlsbad area, the FTC said. The agency contended that the group's members were the highest paid physicians in New Mexico because of illegal contracting practices. Seven physicians who were board members or officers were named in the complaint, as was the group's executive director. They settled without admitting wrongdoing. The case is the sixth in the past 18 months in which the FTC alleged price fixing by physicians. -- by Mark Taylor
N.M. doctor group dissolved in price-fixing case
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