The New York State attorney general is suing CVS Health for an alleged scheme to force health care providers to incur millions in additional costs and divert funds away from underserved communities.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the lawsuit on Thursday, July 28, saying the company violated antitrust laws and harmed safety net hospitals, which provide care to underserved communities.
James said CVS required the safety net hospitals to exclusively used CVS' own company, Wellpartner, to process and obtain federal subsidies on prescriptions filled at its pharmacies.
This forced safety net providers to incur millions of dollars in costs, as they had to hire and train staff and make changes to their data systems, according to the announcement.
James said ultimately, the scheme deprived the providers of federal funding that could have been used to expand patient care.
“While safety net health care providers are tackling public health crises and helping underserved communities, CVS is robbing them out of millions of desperately needed funds that could improve patient care,” James said. “CVS’s actions are a clear example of a large corporation using its clout and power to take advantage of institutions and vulnerable New Yorkers, but my office will not allow it."
James said she is seeking relief for the lost revenue and additional costs health care providers incurred and civil penalties for CVS' illegal business practices.
She said she also wants to require CVS to inform providers that they do not need to exclusively use Wellpartner.
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