August 31, 2021

Final Approval Granted for the Sutter Health Settlement

Final approval was granted in the Sutter Health class action lawsuit, which requires the health system to pay $575 million dollars in overcharges to California employers and health care purchasers, and to comply with a 10-year injunctive relief that prevents Sutter from monopolistic business practices that cost employers and employees.

Below is a statement from Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Purchaser Business Group on Health, which brought employers and unions together with California’s Attorney General — now HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra — to support the successful filing of the class action suit against Sutter Health. This has been a 10-year effort by PBGH that was settled December 2019:

“The settlement agreement achieved in the Sutter Health case, along with the injunctive relief, will have a significant and beneficial economic impact over the next 10 years for businesses, employees and their families. The injunctive relief provisions will enable purchasers to offer health benefits that deliver greater affordability and quality, as well as provide important consumer protections.

“In combination with recent federal No Surprises legislation and President Biden’s recent executive order supporting stronger FTC merger guidelines in the health care industry, a clear message is being sent that the blatantly anti-competitive contracting practices hospitals throughout the country engage in will no longer be tolerated. The Sutter settlement also proves that with collective and bold action, we can reclaim some of the excessive health care charges paid by American businesses and workers and reduce the kind of wasteful spending that impedes job and wage growth.

“This case offers key lessons about the impact of hospital consolidation, and provides a roadmap for federal policy, that if enacted, would make our health system more competitive and affordable.”