Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has re-filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging two dominant physician practices conspired to reject new Medicaid patients and force the state to pay doctors more for care under the program.
In January, Judge Richard Klaus in Champaign County Circuit Court dismissed the case, finding that Madigans complaint didnt support the conclusions that the Carle Clinic Association in Urbana and Christie Clinic in neighboring Champaign coordinated their policies and that the policies were harmful under the states antitrust law.
In the amended complaint, filed Feb. 19, Madigan newly alleges that Carle President and Chief Executive Officer R. Bruce Wellman initiated the strategy with the Christie Clinic because he was reluctant to cede the benefitsin spite of the low reimbursement ratesof caring for Medicaid patients to its competitor if the Carle Clinic acted alone.
Another new assertion is that reforms to the states Medicaid program in 2007 represent injury caused by the alleged anticompetitive conduct. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services rolled out a primary-care case-management system that offers participating doctors higher rates and a faster payment cycle, and both Carle and Christie signed up. -- by Gregg Blesch