The Department of Justice and the state of North Carolina have reached a settlement agreement with Atrium Health, formerly known as Carolinas HealthCare System, in a federal lawsuit alleging the hospital giant violated antitrust laws and drove up patient healthcare costs
As reported by The Charlotte Observer, the 2016 lawsuit against Atrium Health, a billion dollar hospital chain and North Carolina’s largest health care provider, alleged that the company illegally reduced competition in the local healthcare market and set consumer prices so high that many patients were left struggling with bills they could not pay. While Atrium consistently raised costs for consumers, their top execs were receiving millions of dollars.
Atrium’s conduct was alleged to have interfered with attempts by insurers to offer patients lower-cost options for their healthcare. The preliminary settlement in the case will become final upon court approval.
A separate class-action lawsuit, filed by Lieff Cabraser on behalf of three former Atrium patients, is still being litigated. That suit proceeds on similar allegations about Atrium’s illegal and anti-competitive practices that led to escalating healthcare costs for affected consumers.
“We are grateful to the Justice Department and North Carolina Attorney General lawyers for their work on behalf of the people of North Carolina,” said Lieff Cabraser Antitrust lawyer Brendan Glackin. “We will continue to press forward on our case to achieve monetary relief for the same people.”