The Federal Trade Commission reached a consent agreement with a Colorado independent practice association, whose negotiating tactics were said by the government to be illegal price-fixing.
FTC, Colo. doc group reach consent agreement
The FTC contends that Roaring Fork Valley Physicians IPA, which according to the government represents about 80% of the doctors in Garfield County, Colo., negotiated with health plans on behalf of its otherwise competing members in ways that violate federal antitrust law.
The allegations include that the association demanded annual cost-of-living adjustments; refused to share contracts with members if the rates were based on Medicare rates; refused to deal with payers that declined to go along with the collective terms; and required that at least 80% of the total membership and 50% in each specialty agree to contracts.
The agreement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing or concede the government's version of the facts. A proposed order settling the matter calls for the association to cease negotiating with payers on physicians' behalf. Roaring Fork Valley Physicians IPA could not be reached for comment.
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