Preventing the Corporate Takeover of Independent Physicians
Ann Arbor, Mich., Aug. 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor, PLLC (A4) sued Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health earlier this week alleging the health system ignored its exclusive contract obligations and valid non-compete agreements by improperly attempting to poach and hire away physicians.
Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor, or A4, is the exclusive anesthesiology provider at six of Trinity's hospitals in the State of Michigan.
The lawsuit alleges Trinity has chosen to ignore A4's valid non-competes and its own non-solicitation obligations and has recently attempted to recruit A4’s anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists.
On August 15, Rob Casalou, President & CEO Trinity Health Michigan, sent an email to all the physicians and CRNAs at A4, offering them employment with Trinity, which is in direct violation of A4s contracts with Trinity. Last night, Mercy Health Saint Mary President Hyung Kim, had a meeting with a few doctors in Grand Rapids, Mich., reviewing the details of employment offers that had been sent earlier that day to physicians.
“A4 is not in breach of any contract and Trinity has not terminated any agreements. A4 physicians have showed up every day in the operating rooms of Trinity hospitals and have performed their duties flawlessly,” said Gregory Bock, CEO of A4. “Trinity has absolutely no legal basis to approach our physicians”.
Earlier this morning the Circuit Court of Washtenaw County granted A4’s motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Trinity Health. As a result of the TRO, Trinity is now barred from contacting any of A4’s physicians for employment purposes. This is a story of a very large corporate health entity that wants to takeover independent physicians and not pay for the purchase of the physician practice. “The only protection a physician group has against this type of behavior is non-competes and non-solicitation clauses, which are enforceable in Michigan,” said Bock. “Trinity felt that it was in their best interest to hire our physicians, but unfortunately they went about it in a very problematic manner. Despite all that A4’s physicians have been through, A4 is committed to working with Trinity on a fair contract where we maintain our non-competes, non-solicitation and exclusivity provision, so both Trinity and A4 can move forward.”
“We continue to stand up and advocate for our doctors and stand up against the poor behavior of Trinity Health, who has made it clear, based on our refusal to waive our exclusive rights, non-competes and non-solicitation provisions that they are demanding, that they want to avoid any future negotiation by taking our doctors away from us,” Bock said.
Rob Casalou, the President & CEO of Trinity Health Michigan also happens to be a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) Board Member, which is in part why A4 is also alleging antitrust violations in the August 14 lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges there is a conflict of interest because Mr. Casalou serves on the Board of the largest health insurer in Michigan and is also the President of Trinity Health Michigan.
“Trinity claims it wants quality care for their patients,” Bock said, “however, by their actions, they are putting the very doctors in charge of that care in the middle and attempting to put them under its corporate thumb. Nonetheless, these doctors and CRNAs come to work and perform their jobs as they should and as they are contracted to do.”
“Unfortunately, this issue has turned into a story of Money, Power & Control in American Health Care, putting our doctors and patients at risk.”
Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor (A4) was established in 1968 and headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A4, a portfolio company to Siromed Physician Services, is the largest provider of anesthesia and pain management services in the State of Michigan. With over 120 physician anesthesiologists, A4 currently provides services to 11 hospitals, six ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and four chronic pain management clinics.
Available for interviews:
- Gregory Bock, CEO of Anesthesia Associates of Ann Arbor
North Coast Strategies