The 10 Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make with Antitrust Laws

By Neil B. Caesar, Esq., and Kelly R. Pickens, Esq.


Executive Summary

Physicians generally dislike thinking about antitrust laws: They’re rife with areas of gray, rarely a doctor’s favorite color. But for the physician thinking about joining or forming a network or for the medical group considering a merger or alliance, antitrust issues can be critical. While physicians must be wary of running afoul of the rules, it is equally important that they understand what activities the antitrust rules permit. Physicians often need to grow and affiliate safely and have a clear understanding of appropriate and inappropriate actions. Antitrust law is complex and often counterintuitive. Generalizations are difficult, and, depending on the facts to which they may be applied, inherently dangerous. Caution is the byword when antitrust law is implicated.


Mistake 1        Misunderstanding the Scope of Antitrust Laws

Mistake 2        Forgetting That Most Antitrust Costs Result from Scrutiny, Not a Guilty Verdict

Mistake 3        Not Learning the Rules Affecting Fee and Pricing Discussions

Mistake 4        Not Realizing That Non-pricing-related Information May Usually Be Shared without Raising Antitrust Concerns

Mistake 5        Ignoring the Dangers of “Boycotting”

Mistake 6        Not Understanding the Rules about Physician Network Joint Ventures

Mistake 7        Inappropriately Worrying about Monopolies and Restraint of Trade

Mistake 8        Not Realizing That Mergers Are Usually Safe, but Size Matters

Mistake 9        Ignoring State Laws When Forming Networks or Merging Practices

Mistake 10      Waiting Too Long to Consult Competent Counsel When Establishing Physician Alliances, Acquisitions, or Mergers


The above has been excerpted from the SEAK text, The Biggest Legal Mistakes Physicians Make and How To Avoid Them