Texas system sued over claims it ruined competitor

Providers in Houston are going mano a mano over claims that a dominant health system drove a physician-owned hospital out of business. Attorneys for the now-closed Houston Town & Country Hospital say that Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, which includes 16 hospitals across the Houston metro, asked insurers to boycott the startup facility. Houston Town & Country closed in 2006, having been open less than 18 months. Some of the physicians who took part in the Town & Country venture blame the venture's general partner for the failure of the facility, and have sued separately on that basis. But lawyers for the defunct hospital say that it capsized, in part, because Memorial Hermann told the area's largest health plans that it would refuse to do business with them--or would raise its rates--if they signed contracts with Town & Country. Memorial Hermann has asked a federal judge to state that it had the right to form exclusive contracts, didn't lead a boycott and broken neither state nor federal antitrust rules.

To find out more about the suit:
- read this Houston Chronicle article