For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Todd Dvorak
(208) 334-4112

Date: March 5, 2015

Attorney General Reaches Settlement with Rexburg Physician

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has reached a settlement with a Rexburg physician investigated for joining other doctors in refusing to provide on-call services in the emergency department of an eastern Idaho hospital.

The settlement announced today with Dr. Kevin Lee is similar to agreements reached in December with four other doctors, who, like Lee, provided medical services at Madison Memorial Hospital.

The investigation, conducted by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, focused on whether the actions of a group of doctors during negotiations over on-call pay with hospital administrators in 2013 and 2014 violated Idaho’s antitrust laws. The Idaho Competition Act prohibits conspiracies between two or more persons in the unreasonable restraint of commerce.

According to the Attorney General, the group sought to negotiate changes in the on-call policy by conspiring together to cease providing emergency room coverage unless the hospital agreed to compensate for on-call time.

“It’s never pleasant to be involved in an investigation like this one,” Wasden said. “But I appreciate that the doctors involved and Madison Memorial Hospital all fully cooperated so we could come to such an amicable resolution.

“It’s my hope now that other businesses and individuals will find some guidance in the terms outlined in today’s agreement,” Wasden said.

Under the settlement, Dr. Lee and his practice group, Upper Valley Orthopedics PLLC, are prohibited from conspiring with other doctors in any future pay rate negotiations with any hospital. Dr. Lee must also certify compliance with the Idaho Competition Act to the Attorney General.

This settlement has prompted the Attorney General to close the investigation.

Wasden said his investigation didn’t center on the merits of paying physicians for on-call services, but the methods used during negotiations with the hospital.

“The real focus was the use of anticompetitive tactics to force change in the marketplace,” Wasden said.

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