A physician-hospital organization in Bangor, Maine, settled price-fixing allegations with the state by agreeing to improve its operations and do more to improve quality and reduce costs. In Maine, competing healthcare providers may negotiate collective pricing agreements only if the agreements improve quality and reduce costs. According to the state, contracts negotiated by the Maine Health Alliance did not meet the threshold. In addition, the state alleged that members of the PHO agreed to deal with certain payers only through the PHO in an illegal boycott. The 8-year-old Maine Health Alliance represents 325 physicians and 11 hospitals in the northeastern part of the state. The alliance did not admit wrongdoing. "This agreement helps to clarify what our members can do and should do to improve their practices," alliance Executive Director William Diggins said in a written statement. Meanwhile, Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe said in a statement, "We recognize that the healthcare sector has some unique attributes that sometimes justify activities that would be condemned as anticompetitive in other sectors of our economy. However, this case reflects our ongoing commitment to patients and consumers to pay attention to these activities and make sure they deliver promised gains, and stop them when they do not." -- by Mark Taylor
Maine PHO settles price-fixing charges with state
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.