Mergers Lead to Legal Battles

The recent health care marketplace has been plagued by declining reimbursements and increasing overhead.  This plague has resulted in a large influx of mergers and acquisitions of physician practices.   Many physician owners are looking to escape these issues and take shelter from the storm by becoming employees of large medical groups and hospitals.

But the “storm” the physicians are trying to escape from has taken on a new face: legal disputes.

Recently, we have seen court cases and lawsuits brought about to challenge these mergers and acquisitions.  Reason being, physicians are unaware of the antitrust risks and penalties that can coincide with these transactions.  This lack of knowledge can result in a number of damaging consequences which include heavy monetary fines, added expenses, and interruption in their practice flow.
We always recommend that when considering a merger, physicians as a first step should review and identify the risks at hand.  There must be transparency within the organization allowing open communication lines between shareholders and employees.
Next, bring in the experts!  Physicians should retain health care attorneys and consultants/merger specialists in the beginning stages of the merger.  These outside parties should review and assist with identifying risks, uncover and aid in the avoidance of any anti-trust practices, and assist in the review of local competitors.

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