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Sutter Health, California settle massive antitrust case

One of California's largest hospital systems has reached an agreement to settle a massive class-action lawsuit over allegations that it abused its market power to snuff out the competition and overcharge patients for medical bills.

Posted: Oct 10, 2019 12:53 PM
Updated: Oct 17, 2019 10:18 AM

UPDATE: One of California's largest hospital systems has reached an agreement to settle a massive class-action lawsuit over allegations that it abused its market power to snuff out the competition and overcharge patients for medical bills.

A spokeswoman for California Attorney General Xavier Beccera said Wednesday that both sides reached a settlement agreement ahead of opening remarks expected to begin later this week.

The antitrust case against Sutter Health was brought by 1,500 employers and later joined by Beccera.

Jennifer Molina, a spokeswoman for Becerra, said she could not comment further until the final agreement is approved by the court sometime in the future.

A spokeswoman for Sutter Health did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Latest on an antitrust trial against one of California's largest hospital systems (all times local):

12 p.m.

Opening arguments in a trial against one of California's largest hospital systems have been delayed due to the absence and excusal of several jury members.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo said Thursday the trial against Sutter Health would be delayed until next week.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with employers and unions, have brought the lawsuit against Sutter Health, which operates 24 hospitals in Northern California.

The lawsuit accuses Sutter Health of violating California antitrust laws by using its market dominance to stifle competition and overcharge patients for medical bills.

Sutter Health denies the accusations and says that insurance companies are to blame for pushing up costs.

___

12 a.m.

One of California's largest hospital systems faces a trial over accusations that it has used its market dominance to snuff out competition and overcharge patients for medical bills.

Opening remarks are scheduled for Thursday in San Francisco in an antitrust case against Sutter Health, which operates 24 hospitals with 5,500 doctors across Northern California.

The case was brought by employers and unions and joined last year by a similar suit from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose office conducted a six-year investigation.

The plaintiffs accuse Sutter Health of violating the state's antitrust laws and say it is ripping off consumers. A 2018 study found unadjusted inpatient procedure prices are 70% higher in Northern California than Southern California.

Sutter Health officials deny the company has done anything wrong and say insurance companies are to blame for higher prices.

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