Doctors and Hospitals: An Antitrust Perspective on Traditional Relationships

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Under new pressures for cost containment, hospitals are increasingly asserting interests that conflict with those of physicians. Professor Havighurst argues that legal rules under which practioners have challenged denials of hospital admitting privileges should be clarified in order that hospitals can more effectively carry out their new cost containment and other responsibilities. He invokes antitrust laws "essential-facilities" doctrine to protect those abused by their competitors on a hospital staff, but he contends that, if a hospital participates in decisionmaking as an independant actor-- even though it acts in concert with its physicians--, antitrust courst should lower the level of scrutiny to a point at which most challenges can be dismissed summarily. He analogizes restraints of other kinds, and draws conclusions critical of doctrine traditionally applicable to the latter.