FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges that Puerto Rico Ophthalmologist Group Agreed to an Illegal Boycott of Health Plan

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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that OFTACOOP, a Puerto Rican ophthalmologist cooperative, unlawfully orchestrated an agreement among competing ophthalmologists to refuse to deal with a health plan, MCS Advantage, Inc., and its network administrator, Eye Management of Puerto Rico, LLC.

First announced in January 2017, the complaint alleged that OFTACOOP’s concerted refusal to deal forced MCS to abandon its plan to engage Eye Management to create a lower-cost network of ophthalmologists. MCS was also forced to maintain its then-current reimbursement rates paid to ophthalmologists. According to the complaint, OFTACOOP – also known as Cooperativa de Médico Oftalmólogos de Puerto Rico – restrained competition without any justification, in violation of federal antitrust law.

The order prohibits OFTACOOP from making or facilitating agreements among ophthalmologists to refuse to deal, or threaten to refuse to deal, with any payor regarding any term, including price terms; or to not deal individually with any payor, or with any payor other than through OFTACOOP.

The Commission vote approving the final order was 2-0. (FTC File No. 141 0194; the staff contact is Synda Mark, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2353.)

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