Former hospital CEO calls for Epic antitrust probe

'What we are seeing here is a remarkable reinforcement of mutual self-interest'
By Mike Miliard
10:28 AM

The former CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has called on the Massachusetts attorney general to look into the relationship between Epic and Partners HealthCare, claiming its electronic health record helps "box out the competition."

Writing on his blog, Not Running a Hospital, Levy suggests that newly-minted Massachusetts AG Maura Healey -- who threatened to sue powerhouse Partners to block its acquistion of South Shore Hospital in her first week on the job earlier this year -- also take a closer look at the health system's chosen EHR vendor.

"What we are seeing here is a remarkable reinforcement of mutual self-interest in the behavioral patterns of the two entities," Levy writes. "Here's how it works:  Partners enters into a contract with Epic for the construction of an EHR for its facilities. The two organizations go to the Partners-affiliated, but independent, medical practice groups and tell them that they have to install the Epic EHR – even if the EHR they have had for years is perfectly adequate for their purposes. If a doctors' practice asks why they can't keep their old system, Epic makes clear that interoperability between its system and the practice's legacy system is not feasible. Meanwhile, to clinch the conversion, Partners also informs the local practices that failure to install the Epic system will foreclose those practices from participating in the favorable insurance contracting relationships it enjoys."

Such a partnership "may not be your usual type of anti-trust activity, but it is anti-trust activity nonetheles," writes Levy, who resigned from BIDMC, a Partners competitor, amid controversy in 2011.

Read his full blog post here.

See also:

Will Partners' $1.2B EHR gamble pay off?

Athenahealth, Beth Israel forge unique EHR deal

ONC calls out information blockers