A physician group filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against 158-bed Missouri Delta Medical Center, Sikeston, Mo., accusing the hospital of conducting a campaign to destroy the group as a multispecialty practice beginning in 2000. The suit in U.S. District Court, Cape Girardeau, Mo., also named the hospital's president and chief executive officer, Charles Ancell, and a board member. A hospital spokeswoman declined to comment on the allegations by Ferguson Medical Group, Sikeston, saying the hospital had not yet been served with the suit. Ferguson Medical alleged that the hospital insisted the group remain focused on primary care and attempted to divert the group's patient base "through improper and unlawful means." Those means allegedly included ending call arrangements, discriminating against the group in peer review and credentialing matters, restricting patient referrals to group members, and offering inducements to physicians to break their contracts with the group. The group is seeking triple damages, compensation for attorneys' fees and an end to the alleged illegal conduct. -- by Mark Taylor
Mo. docs accuse hospital of antitrust violations
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