A group of Florida doctors and provider groups settled a nearly $350 million antitrust suit against integrated system Health First last week on the second day of a three-week trial.
Before the jury was seated to hear testimony for the first time in the case, attorneys for Health First and the plaintiffs informed a federal judge they had settled the case. The jury had heard opening statements a day earlier. Terms of the settlement have not been made public.
The trial was scheduled to last three weeks, as multispecialty physician group Omni Healthcare and more than a dozen other physicians accused Health First of “intimidating” physicians in southern Brevard County and obstructing their ability to practice medicine if they didn't refer patients exclusively to the health system's hospitals and specialists.
Melbourne, Fla.-based Omni sued Health First in federal court in 2013 after the system acquired the physician group Melbourne Internal Medicine Associates, a move they claimed lessened competition. They sought to unwind the deal and receive up to $346 million in damages.