Part III Administrative Complaint
With an administrative complaint issued on December 22, 2003 the Commission charged Piedmont Health Alliance, Inc. with collectively setting prices it demanded for physician services with third party payers. According to the complaint, the physician-hospital organization entered into signed agreements on behalf of its member physicians to participate in all contracts negotiated and to accept the negotiated physician fees. The complaint further alleges that these practices eliminated price competition among physicians in the North Carolina counties of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba. The complaint also names ten individual physicians who participated in the alleged price fixing services. On August 10, 2004, the organization and physicians agreed to settle charges that they fixed prices for medical services. A final consent order prohibited Piedmont Health Alliance, Inc. and the ten physicians from entering into any such agreements with physicians in the area that negotiate fees or terms of services with health insurance companies or other third party payers. Also refer to settlement entered with Tenet Healthcare Corporation (Frye Regional Medical Center, Inc.).