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Monroe Hospital Continues Lawsuit Against IU Health

IU Health Ambulance

Photo: Steve Burns (WFIU/WTIU News)

The two hospitals have been invovled in a legal battle for almost two years.

Indiana University Health Bloomington continues to refute Monroe Hospital’s claims that it’s monopolizing the area’s market.

The dispute started last year when Monroe Hospital filed a lawsuit against IU Health Bloomington. According to the lawsuit, IU Health Bloomington Emergency Medical Transport Services, the sole provider of ambulance services in the county, delivers an overwhelming majority of patients to IU Health regardless of distance or the patient’s preference. Because of this, Monroe Hospital claims IU Health monopolizes the market in the county.

IU Health requested the case be dismissed because the ambulance services’ conduct was not exclusionary. IU Health also claims it’s immune from federal and state antitrust liabilities because ensuring consumer welfare is outlined in state policy and supervised by the state.

The United States District Court in Indianapolis dismissed parts of the case last fall siding with IU Health Bloomington.

However, Monroe Hospital filed an amended complaint earlier this month. The complaint argues the state did not sufficiently supervise the county ambulance services and that the ambulance service was regulating itself through the Monroe Ambulance Advisory Board, whose members included several IU Health employees, but no Monroe Hospital employees.

IU Health filed a new motion Monday refuting those claims as “incomplete.” The motion details how a technical glitch prevented IU Ambulance information from being shared with the state, but says that problem is now fixed. In addition, IU Health says allegations related to the self-regulation of ambulance services painted an incorrect picture of the Monroe County Ambulance Advisory Board and how it operates. IU Health says only one of its employees serving on the board is a voting member.

In a statement, IU Health spokesperson Teri deMatas says IU Health is dedicated to providing the best emergency care response for the community.

“IU Health believes the allegations of the amended complaint continue to have no merit and it will defend the lawsuit accordingly,” dMatas said. “IU Health continues to work with all healthcare providers in south central Indiana to ensure the best emergency care is received.”

Monroe Hospital has not responded to requests for comment.

This post has been updated. 

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