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California AG Moves Forward With Fraud Case Against Sutter Health

Skyrocketing health care costs continue to draw the attention of patients and their lawyers, as well as politicians in Sacramento and Washington. But little seems to have been done to actually cut down on medical and related bills.

A lawsuit recently brought by California’s top attorney against a huge healthcare provider is being hailed by some as a test case.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently got an important early win in a lawsuit against Sutter Health. Becerra says the company overpriced patients and used anticompetitive moves to drive out other healthcare operators in the state.

A judge in San Francisco recently rejected Sutter Health’s motion to dismiss claims related to price tampering and monopolization. That means state prosecutors can proceed with those claims against the company.

“Hospitals that participate in anticompetitive practices to the detriment of their patients must be held accountable,” Becerra said in a statement following the decision. He called the ruling “a giant step in the right direction.”

Prosecutors allege the Sacramento-based company used its sheer size as a major player in the state healthcare market to force insurers to agree to terms that hurt patients.

In one case, for example, Sutter Health allegedly forced an insurer to drop incentives for doctors that steer patients to less costly healthcare providers offering the same quality of care. The company has also been accused of reducing hospital beds and other necessary services in rural parts of the state in order to maximize its bottom line.

Becerra, and a labor union operating a pension and healthcare fund for members, say those moves have artificially inflated costs for Sutter Health patients. They want the court to order the company to negotiate with insurers separately for different hospitals.

Sutter Health has more than 8,000 doctors and another 48,000 employees in 19 counties on its payroll.

Speak With a Consumer Law Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been the subject of price gouging or other types of fraud, it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced consumer law attorney. There are a number of legal tools that can help you recoup your money and hold fraudsters responsible.

A seasoned lawyer can help you weigh your rights and options. That include whether to join a class action lawsuit, often an efficient way to seek compensation for any financial injury. Class actions allow fraud victims to join together to seek compensation from those responsible, leveraging their claims and sharing the burden of the lawsuit.

At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our consumer law attorneys have been representing people in securities, consumer and other fraud cases for more than 25 years. We have a strong track record of success in these cases, including through multimillion-dollar settlements. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.