SACRAMENTO (KTXL/KRON) — Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Friday a major settlement with one of California’ s largest healthcare providers.
Sutter Health agreed to a $575 million settlement in an antitrust case.
The healthcare provider was accused of using its status as the largest hospital system in Northern California to engage in anti-competitive behavior. It allegedly persuaded insurers with its regional power to prevent patients from seeking healthcare elsewhere, which also drove up costs.
“This first in the nation settlement is one of the largest actions against anti-competitive conduct in the healthcare market place across the county,” Becerra said.
Becerra says that because of Sutter’s practices, Northern Californians were paying about 70% more for inpatient procedures compared to those in Southern California.
In the settlement, Sutter Health has not admitted to wrongdoing.
“Families shouldn’t have to choose between paying their medical bills or their mortgage,” Becerra said.
In addition to paying out the money, Sutter Health will also have to change policies including capping out network costs and stopping its all or nothing deals with insurers.
The $575 million will go to employers, unions, state and federal governments.
It will also need the final approval in court.