HARTFORD, Conn. — Saint Francis Hospital filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Hartford HealthCare claiming they engaged in a series of anti-competitive practices which have resulted in higher prices, less quality and fewer choices for patients.
The lawsuit alleges that Hartford HealthCare executives have repeatedly stated their plan was to “crush” or “bury” Saint Francis.
“Another executive said that ‘we don’t want Saint Francis in our backyard’,” the lawsuit claims.
Saint Francis alleges that Hartford HealthCare acquired numerous physician practices, demanded its acquired physicians refer all or virtually all their cases to HHC, regardless of whether that is best for their patients; penalized physicians who do not do so; and threatened and intimidated physicians who do not follow Hartford HealthCare’s directives.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that residents of the greater Hartford area have access to health care that is high in quality with lower costs," Kaitlin Rocheleau, Communications Manager, Trinity Health of New England, the parent company of Saint Francis Hospital, said in a statement to FOX61. "Competition encourages health care providers to reduce costs and increase quality. If we are successful, the winners will be health care consumers in the greater Hartford area.”
Hartford Health Care said in a statement: “We believe the complaint filed by St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center is without merit. Hartford HealthCare denies these allegations and we will vigorously defend against them.
“Our focus remains on serving the needs of our patients and our communities during this raging pandemic, as we care for more hospitalized COVID-19 patients than ever before.”
The lawsuit alleges the shifting of patients from Saint Francis and the other hospitals in the Hartford area and the weakening of these hospitals will substantially affect the parties’ revenue in interstate commerce.
The lawsuit said Hartford HealthCare is planning or has already:
- Acquired of numerous physician practices, including physicians who were practicing at Saint Francis, Bristol and Manchester Memorial as well as independent physicians participating in SoNE, clinically integrated provider network, partially owned by Trinity Health Of New England.
- Made threats to numerous independent physicians that if they did not concentrate their referrals on Hartford HealthCare, they would retaliate.
- Required physicians involved in Hartford HealthCare’s physician-hospital network, Integrated Care Partners, to send the vast majority of their referrals to Hartford HealthCare with financial penalties if they failed to do so.
- Made successful demands to obtain exclusive access to cutting-edge equipment.
- Interfered with health plans’ adoption of tiered networks, reducing competition and consumer choice.
Read the lawsuit:
Doug Stewart is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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