Last summer we issued an alert regarding the FTC and Nevada AG’s challenge to Reno, Nev.-based Renown Health's acquisition of two cardiology practices. [1]  The challenge ensued because the acquisition at issue resulted in Renown allegedly having 88 percent of the cardiologists in the Reno area.  At the time, we reported that Renown entered into a consent decree that required Renown to suspend non-compete agreements until a certain number of cardiologists in the acquired practices left Renown’s employment.   In addition, Renown was required to notify the agencies of any future cardiology-related acquisitions, and to reimburse the investigation costs of the State of Nevada (something state AG's frequently demand).

After an internal investigation by outside antitrust counsel, Renown Health announced yesterday the immediate departure of four executives, including Renown’s CEO, its general counsel, VP of system development, and business development administrator.[2]  As stated by Renown’s board of directors in the announcement:

"There is no question that things did not go as planned," said Renown Health board chairman David C. Line, "and for that we are sincerely sorry. As an organization, we have been committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to make sure that our policies, procedures and communications are as world-class as the health care we provide. If the execution of the SNCA transaction had been as solid as our intentions, none of this would have occurred."

This is another example not only of the increase in antitrust enforcement in the healthcare industry by the federal and state antitrust authorities, but the collateral consequences that can follow an enforcement action.  This also demonstrates the need for an effective compliance program.