CarePoint Health won a round against their rival RWJBarnabas Health as part of an ongoing collusion lawsuit filed last year, with a federal judge denying the latter’s motion to dismiss on Friday.
In September 2022, CarePoint filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Jersey City Medical Center, alleging that they were colluding with Hudson Regional Hospital (who is not named as a plaintiff) in Secaucus, and others, to put them out of business.
U.S. District Court Judge Evelyn Padin rejected RWJBarnabas’ motion to dismiss, stating that the allegations are plausible enough for the case to continue.
“CarePoint alleges numerous instances of RWJ’s conduct that, evaluated together, plausibly coalesce into an alleged scheme,” she began in her ruling.
“RWJ entered the Hudson County acute care market by opening the SED [Satellite Emergency Department] with the aid of enhanced reimbursement from Horizon, steered patients and doctors away from CarePoint, and interfered surreptitiously with CarePoint’s attempted sale and employees, all in an effort to take over the relevant market from CarePoint.”
CarePoint spokeswoman Shannon Brennan said that allowing the case to eventually work its way through discovery will show “significant new evidence” to prove that there was collusion.
“This ruling validates CarePoint’s argument and strengthens its resolve to ensure fair competition and accessible healthcare services for the communities it serves,” she said.
“CarePoint remains dedicated to upholding the highest standards of patient care and advocating for a healthcare landscape that fosters equity and integrity.”
Furthermore, CarePoint claims that this situation has damaged their financial position, noting that they received no funding from the American Rescue Plan, which gave about $700 million to New Jersey hospitals, a claim that is also in the lawsuit.
RWJBarnabas could not immediately be reached for comment, but a spokesperson referred to the suit last year shortly after it was filed as “another in a series of baseless complaints.”
“This is yet another in a series of baseless complaints filed by CarePoint, an organization whose leadership apparently prefers to assign blame to others rather than accept responsibility for the unsatisfactory results of their own poor business decisions and actions over the years.”
There is a second lawsuit between CarePoint (along with McCabe Ambulance Services) and the JCMC, filing a claim in Hudson County Superior Court in August 2022, alleging that they violated an ambulance transport deal that they worked out in 2016, as HCV first reported.