Huntington Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the state Attorney General’s Office challenging conditions they allege would inhibit their ability to provide specialized health care at lower costs.
The proposed affiliation of the two hospitals was announced in March 2020, a move that will help facilities such as Huntington Hospital avoid facing significant obstacles to its longterm ability to serve the community, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit.
The attorney general approved Huntington’s affiliation with Cedars-Sinai in December, but only if the two hospitals accept competitive conditions the plaintiffs maintain would put Huntington Hospital and its patients at a distinct disadvantage compared to any other hospital in the region, according to the suit.
“We are shocked at the unprecedented overreach of the conditions being imposed,” said Dr. Lori Morgan, president and CEO of Huntington Hospital. “Rather than benefiting our community, the conditions primarily benefit health insurance companies.”
A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office said the agency had not been served with the suit and so she had no immediate comment.
One of the conditions puts price caps on Huntington’s rates to insurance companies for at least 10 years, without any requirement that the insurance companies pass their savings on to consumers, the suit states. Another condition forces Huntington Hospital and Cedars-Sinai to submit to insurance companies’ demands for winner-take-all arbitration in contract negotiations any time an insurance company wants to do so, a requirement facing no other hospital in the state, according to the suit.
“This unlevel playing field jeopardizes Huntington’s and Cedars-Sinai’s future ability to provide access to quality care for the many communities we serve — and those who rely on us for life-saving care when it’s needed most,” Morgan said.