A new lawsuit filed against Health First, the company that runs both Holmes Regional Medical Center and Palm Bay Hospital in Brevard County, alleges the company has maintained a monopoly through intimidation of doctors and disruption of their practices.
The person who ultimately loses is the typical patient.
“If a doctor, for example, would not refer a patient to a Health First hospital then they could be retaliated against by being excluded from the Health First [insurance coverage] plan,” Morgan & Morgan attorney Tucker Byrd told WFTV.
Byrd represents Omni Healthcare and a collection of doctors who claim Health First has created “unfair competition” through its threatening tactics. According to WFTV, it is being alleged that Health First engages in the practice of “intimidating physicians or otherwise obstructing their ability to practice medicine” if the doctors do not “play ball” with or refer patients exclusively to the company’s hospitals.
“Ultimately,” Byrd continued, “you have some doctors whose practices have been decimated as a result of this.”
Byrd appeared on WPTV Channel 9 last week to discuss the suit. The people who are ultimately affected in this situation, according to Byrd, are the patients of Brevard County.
“If the prices are going up and the quality is going down and the choices are being eliminated, the person who ultimately loses is the typical patient,” Byrd said.