McKay Consulting, Shreveport, La., filed a lawsuit in Wayne County (Mich.) Circuit Court alleging that three Detroit-area health systems -- Henry Ford Health System, Oakwood Healthcare and St. John Health -- failed to pay the firm as contracted for helping them win a wage-index reclassification under last year's Medicare Modernization Act. The reclassification secured $100 million over three years in additional Medicare funds for 11 Wayne County hospitals and health systems, according to the firm. "Everyone signed on to the agreement to pay us if we were successful and all did except for these three systems," McKay partner Bob Brown said. Brown refused to disclose the firm's total contingency fees but said they were in the millions of dollars. In a news release, Henry Ford said that under its written contract with McKay, "no amount was due" the firm. Oakwood and St. John officials could not be reached for comment at deadline.
Separately, a judge dismissed an antitrust lawsuit filed in March against HCA and its 41-hospital Florida division, four Florida health systems, the Florida Hospital Association and the association's insurance subsidiary. U.S. District Judge John Steele in Fort Myers, Fla., said that Medical Savings Insurance Co., Indianapolis, which markets health savings accounts, had not paid inflated hospital prices as a result of an alleged conspiracy by the defendants to refuse to negotiate with the company, fix hospital prices and monopolize the market for acute-care services. In his opinion, Steele wrote, "The harm suffered as a result of plaintiff's inability to change the prices that acute-care hospitals in Florida charge their patients is felt by the patients and not by plaintiff. ... The court concludes that plaintiff lacks antitrust standing" to sue. The hospital association said it was pleased with the decision. At deadline, no other party to the suit could be reached for comment. -- by Mark Taylor