Post-Amex Steering Restrictions: Lingering Questions from United States v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority By Nicholas A. Widnell and Brian A. Hayles

THE D E P A RTME N T O F J U S T I C E and North Carolina filed a complaint against The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority (CMHA) in the U.S. District Court for the West - ern District of North Carolina challenging contractual restrictions between CMHA and commercial health insurers (payers) in Charlotte that allegedly prevented those payers from offering patients financial benefits to use less expensive health care services offered by the hospital’s competitors. On April 24, 2019, CMHA entered into a consent decree with the government that modified the challenged contracts to address the alleged concerns identified in the complaint. Although CMHA made no admission of liability and the consent decree is not a litigated resolution of the government’s claims, the decree makes clear that the DOJ believes that anti-steering provisions of the sort used by CMHA violate the Sherman Act.

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