The jury deliberated for two days after an eight-week trial. “The business of healthcare is complicated even for many of those who work in healthcare today, so we are grateful this jury took care to understand the facts,” Memorial Hermann President and CEO Dan Wolterman said in a new release.
The lead attorney for the physicians suing the system said in an interview that he believes the case was a close decision for the jury. “The documents were clear they had a strategy to tell anyone who contracted with physician-owned hospitals they would either terminate them or raise their rates significantly,” said Richard Zook, a partner in the law firm Thompson & Knight. “The question was whether insurance companies joined in a conspiracy, and the jury concluded there was not enough evidence for that.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott investigated the alleged antitrust conspiracy and in January 2009 reached a settlement agreement with Memorial Hermann in which the system agreed to a five-year injunction prohibiting the kind of contracting practices at issue while denying ever engaging in them.
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