Photo: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle 201
A look at the emergency room at Sutter Health's Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. The California Attorney General has filed a lawsuit alleging that Sutter violated state antitrust laws by forcing insurers to enter into agreements that would allow Sutter to raise prices for hospital and healthcare services well beyond Prices are an unrestricted, competitive market. "
A Look At the Sutter Health Emergency Facility Alta Bates Summit …
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a lawsuit against Sutter Health, accusing Northern California's largest health care system of unlawfully increasing its dominant position Englisch: www.germnews.com. DE / archive / dn / 1998/02 / 12.html The complaint filed on Thursday with the San Francisco Superior Court alleges that Sutter has violated California antitrust laws by forcing health insurers to enter into agreements that reduce Sutter's prices Hospital and healthcare services outperformed prices they could have demanded in a free, competitive marketplace. "
" It is time to bring health companies to justice and reduce illegally inflated healthcare costs for Californian families, "said Becerra.
Sutter Englisch: www.euro.who.int/mediacentre/PR/200…guage=German. The Chancellor is aware of the lawsuit, but has not reviewed it and can not comment on the specifics, said Sutter spokeswoman Karen Garner, who said that the total cost of hospitalization at a Sutter hospital is lower than in other Northern California hospitals
Sutter has kept the average increase in the overall rate since 2012 in the low single-digit range, despite spending on labor, facilities and technology. "We do not know why some health plans increase their consumer prices by 20 percent a year ", Garner said.
The cost of healthcare is long in northern California more expensive than in other parts of the state – even after adjusting for the higher cost of living in the region, according to analyzes by health economists. Research indicates that increased consolidation in health care markets leads to these higher prices.
A study published this week by the UC Berkeley Petris Center on Healthcare Markets and Consumer Protection found that Northern California's medical treatment prices are 20 to 30 percent higher than Southern California's and health plan insurance premiums Individual market are 10 percent higher.
"Much of the increased cost of health care in Northern California is due to Sutter and its restrictive contractual practices imposed by its market power," the lawsuit states. "Sutter's market power in certain markets has allowed him to raise prices and therefore the cost of his health care."
Sutter operates 24 hospitals and 35 outpatient centers in Northern California.
In regions dominated by large medical groups health insurance companies have less influence on the negotiation of interest rates, which often correlates with higher prices for consumers. Between 2004 and 2013, prices in hospitals, which were among the largest healthcare systems, rose 113 percent, compared with 70 percent in all state hospitals, according to a 2016 USC Health Economist study.
For the first time, Sutter has alerted the Attorney General's Office to his pricing policy. The Health System's acquisition of Summit Medical Center in 1999, one of the largest hospital mergers in recent years, unsuccessfully led Attorney General Bill Lockyer to block the merger because of antitrust concerns.
After the merger, prices rose at the summit According to a 2008 Federal Trade Commission statement on the transaction, he told reporters at a press conference on Friday that the trial was the culmination of a six-year investigation by his office. The investigation found that Sutter prevented insurance companies from offering consumers cheaper health care options, putting very high prices outside the network and hindering price transparency, by restricting the publication of supplier prices that consumers could have used, Becerra
said ] "The implications of these practices for California families are real," he said.
Catherine Ho is an Associate of the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @Cat_Ho