Long Island Health Network, Melville, N.Y., and its 11 hospital members are under investigation for alleged price-fixing, Modern Healthcare has learned. Antitrust officials in the office of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer would not confirm or deny that the office planned to file a complaint accusing the network and its members of an illegal conspiracy to share price information. Robert Leibenluft, an attorney for the network with the Washington office of Hogan & Hartson, confirmed that the network is having discussions with the attorney general's office over the matter, but he declined to comment further. The network is a joint venture through which the hospitals share clinical data and engage in joint contracting.
Healthcare antitrust attorney Arthur Lerner, who is familiar with the Long Island market, said the network "would face a very high burden" if it attempts to prove that its members had so high a degree of clinical integration they were justified in sharing price information. Lerner is with Crowell & Moring in Washington. -- by Mark Taylor