|Received:||10/16/2009 4:35:35 PM|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||In the Matter of Carilion Clinic, a corporation; Docket No. 9338; FTC File No. 081 0259; Proposed Consent Agreement|
Comments:When FTC investigators were here in Roanoke, one of the questions they asked me went something like, “Of the remaining private physician groups, which ones do you think would be perfectly honest in talking with us at the FTC, and which ones maybe would not be willing/able (from internal restraints etc) to be totally honest and fully disclosing to the FTC.” I replied that “I think the Roanoke Orthopedic Clinic (Center) would probably NOT be fully honest with you, because I think they have long been negotiating the sale of their practice-group to the Carilion Clinic….and therefore would not want to say anything that would be possibly unfavorable to a large financial benefit in their OWN buy-out/sale.” Now I KNOW my response was correct. One of the Roanoke Orthopedic Clinic’s physician employees just called to discuss things with me, and reported: 1) The Roanoke Orthopedic Center IS currently and briskly negotiating a buy-out by Carilion (and that physician does not even know ALL of the details). 2) The Roanoke Orthopedic Center (ROC) is the only remaining private practice of Orthopedics in Roanoke. 3) That physician is very upset about this buy-out, having entered private practice by choice….and with the private ROC, anticipating a long and happy relationship with that long-established private orthopedic practice, and is not interested at all in employment status with Carilion. Physician also reports at least 2 other doctors in that large group feel the same way, and yet MAY be restrained from other local (private practice) alternatives in case of a sale, because of non-compete clauses in their contracts. 4) I TOLD the Physician THAT IT WOULD SEEM TO ME THAT (“ACCORDING TO WHAT I HAD READ IN THE NEWSPAPER ABOUT THE RECENT ACTIONS BY THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION”) IT WOULD BE UN-WISE OF CARILION TO ACQUIRE ANOTHER LAST-REMAINING INDEPENDENT GROUP AT THIS TIME, especially when it would ELIMINATE ANOTHER LAST-LONELY-SURVIVING Private COMPETETOR. 5) The physician SAID, “CARILION TELLS us THAT THEY ARE NEGOTIATING THE CURRENT FTC ACTION TO A SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION, AND THEY ANTICIPATE BEING FREE TO GO AHEAD WITH THE ORTHOPEDIC ACQUISITION AFTER JANUARY 1st.” So I just thought you would be interested in hearing this, just as you (FTC) are in the process of settling your current action against Carilion (re the Centers for Surgical Excellence and Advanced Imaging). It seems to me that Carilion just doesn’t care whom they put out of business, or whom they run over, in their monopolistic endeavors. Two of the previous Roanoke Orthopedic Clinic doctors left town and moved to Pennsylvania, just to escape the oppressive local climate of discrimination by Carilion against them and their private practice here, and because of "leakage" of referrals OUT of the Carilion Sustem.