A legal battle is now underway between two big health care providers in the Hartford region.
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center has filed a federal lawsuit against Hartford HealthCare.
Saint Francis accuses its rival of scooping up doctors and charging patients more for what it calls lesser service.
In the complaint, Saint Francis claims there’s been a campaign “that has caused serious harm to health care competition and consumers in the Hartford, Connecticut area.”
Amid its accusations:
- Hartford HealthCare provides lesser quality service than other hospitals in the region
- Despite that it argues Hartford Hospital rates are more than 15 percent higher
- And over the last four years Hartford HealthCare has snatched up a lot of doctors and demands they refer all or most cases to Hartford HealthCare regardless of what is best for the patient
Saint Francis believes these and other actions were taken take not to compete but in an attempt to increase Hartford HealthCare’s dominance and have the ability to charge higher prices.
In the lawsuit, Saint Francis’ attorneys write that “at meetings, Hartford HealthCare executives have stated repeatedly that their plan was to “crush” or “bury” Saint Francis.”
In a statement to NBC Connecticut, Hartford HealthCare wrote in part:
“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.”
Saint Francis has alleged nine counts against Hartford HealthCare including ones related to monopoly and antitrust.
In a statement to NBC Connecticut, Saint Francis wrote:
“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.”
In the court filing, Saint Francis says it wants a jury to stop what it calls anticompetitive conduct, force Hartford HealthCare to give up any doctor practices it acquired in 2020 or later and pay damages.
The Attorney General’s Office said it is concerned by the allegations and is reviewing the matter.