Special Topics Call: The Impact of Federal Antitrust Laws on Network Operations

Conference Call
01/18/13 01:30 PM
01/18/13 02:30 PM

NOTE: Please note that this call has been changed to a webinar and has been rescheduled for Friday, Jan. 18th at 1:30 PM ET.
Call-in and login details will be sent via email.

NCHN Member Special Topics Call: The Impact of Federal Antitrust Laws on Network Operations
AKA "But officer, I didn't really mean to conspire!" with Heman A. Marshall, III, Woods Rogers PLC

Date: Friday, January 18, 2013 @ 1:30 PM ET

The Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, and other federal Antitrust Laws generally prohibit business conduct that restricts or harms competition. While this is laudable, as with all things, the “Devil’s in the details”. Seemingly benign conduct can sometimes inadvertently cross the line from “legal” to “illegal”. This is particularly true when otherwise separate organizations that currently or potentially compete undertake joint activity. Of course, the typical healthcare network is just such an arrangement. Therefore, both networks and members need to be aware of the antitrust “Do’s” and “Don’t’s” to avoid crossing the line.

In addition, we are in a period when mergers, consolidations, affiliations and similar steps to integrate previously separate healthcare organizations are on the rise. Recent legislative and financial pressures have only increased this movement. A side effect of this trend has been increased federal antitrust enforcement. Combining any two previously independent competitors in any market increases the market power of the combined entity, and can have potentially anticompetitive effects, and thus trigger antitrust challenges.

In short, healthcare networks and their members can unwittingly find themselves “targets” of antitrust enforcement. The best protection is knowledge of the laws and the specific conduct that needs to be avoided. The purpose of this discussion is to arm you with an overview of the laws and knowledge of the “risky” conduct so that if your organization encounters a situation that raises antitrust risk, you can take steps to avoid mistakes and seek specific guidance.

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