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Health care executives dissolve organization amid investigation

Health care executives dissolve organization amid investigation

A national organization of health care executives has agreed to disband amid an investigation into whether it showed favoritism to some vendors who joined the group, possibly leading to higher health care costs.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced an antitrust settlement Thursday with Healthcare Research and Development Institute LLC. Blumenthal had alleged that HRDI members showed favoritism to certain vendors, who paid $40,000 (euro30,821) for membership privileges and received direct access to chief executives of hospitals and other health care institutions.
Some executives were paid $20,000 (euro15,410) to $25,000 (euro19,263) a year to attend conferences with luxury accommodations and provide consulting services to companies that supply pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other goods and services to hospitals and other facilities, Blumenthal said.
The investigation also found evidence that some vendors' sales to certain hospitals increased significantly after they attended "confidential" panel sessions with chief executives of those hospitals during HRDI's semiannual meetings, Blumenthal said.
"These practices threatened to inflate health care costs to patients and taxpayers _ stifling competition in almost every health care supply and services market," he said.
Blumenthal declined to name any of the HRDI members or vendors involved in the alleged activities, saying his investigation is continuing and may result in future legal action. Several HRDI members and vendors have ties to Connecticut.
Under the settlement, HRDI will dissolve but will be allowed to reorganize with only health care executives, and not vendors, as members.
Diane P. Appleyard, HRDI's president and chief executive officer, said the nearly two-year investigation has found no wrongdoing and no charges have been filed. She said the organization fully cooperated with investigators.
"HRDI never has and does not now buy, sell or encourage the purchase or sale of products or services," Appleyard said in a statement.
According to HRDI's mission statement, the health care executives get together to seek ways to improve their hospitals and services and educate companies that serve the industry.
HRDI's client list includes health care products maker Abbott Laboratories, drug maker Eli Lilly & Co., Citigroup, Johnson & Johnson Healthcare systems, Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Morgan Stanley Inc.
Messages left with several HRDI members and clients were not immediately returned Thursday.


Updated : 2021-07-26 04:17 GMT+08:00