In its continuing fight against rising healthcare costs, the Justice Department (DOJ) has sued Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest healthcare system for using a common healthcare contracting tool, the anti-steering clause. U.S. and the State of North Carolina v. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, d/b/a Carolinas Healthcare System (CHS), Case No. 3:16-cv-00311, filed on June 9, 2016.
A few years ago, the DOJ attacked another healthcare contracting tool, the most-favored-nation clause, which insurers employed to guarantee they would receive the lowest rates on any given service. According to the DOJ, those clauses, when utilized by dominant healthcare systems, stifle competition and contribute to rising healthcare costs because providers cannot offer lower rates to other insurers without violating the most-favored-nation clause. The DOJ’s work had an effect too, as legislation banning the clauses has passed in a number of states. Now, the DOJ and the state of North Carolina have placed anti-steering clauses in their crosshairs. Continue Reading