Minnesota’s Largest Pediatric Hospital Settles with Attorney General
In November 2018, Children’s Minnesota and former Attorney General Lori Swanson reached an agreement stemming from allegations that Children’s had agreed not to market a certain “tele-health” service in certain zip codes around Minnesota and western Wisconsin due to concerns that the marketing in those areas would threaten a potential business relationship with an unnamed health care system, therefore violating state and federal antitrust laws. Children’s also recently named an antitrust compliance officer as part of this agreement.
Back in 2015, Children’s entered into an agreement with MDLive Inc., a “tele-health” service, which also allowed Children’s to sublicense any part of Minnesota and western Wisconsin to other parties. Dubbed Children’s Virtual Clinic, it provided virtual appointments for patients, ran for a period of 18 months, and ended in January 2017.
In March 2016, Children’s had decided to undergo a digital pre-marketing campaign for the service. Email exchanges at that time suggest an executive at Children’s spoke with an executive at a competing health system about the upcoming campaign. Following that conversation, the court filing states that Children’s decided not to conduct the campaign in certain areas that represented the primary service area of that competitor.
Children’s chief legal officer stated that Children’s denies the allegations and that it entered into the agreement “solely for the purpose of settlement to avoid further expense related to the investigation.” This is a primary example that every company, whether big or small, needs to be aware of all the potential federal and state laws it could interact with during its course of business. Wilkerson & Hegna has the right people and experience to keep businesses running on track and in compliance with all federal and state laws.