Physician Clinic's Lawsuit to Continue

WICHITA — A federal antitrust lawsuit accusing some of the largest health-care operations in Kansas City of trying to drive a physician-owned clinic out of business will be allowed to continue, a federal judge said this week.

U.S. District Judge Monti Belot denied a request from defendants to quash the suit, saying Heartland Spine and Specialty Hospital of Overland Park, whose officials filed the suit in April 2005, had provided enough evidence to let the lawsuit go forward.

A trial is scheduled for April in Wichita.

The case, accusing the group of hospital and managed-care networks of working together to prevent Heartland from getting managed-care contracts, has attracted interest as it speaks to the ongoing national debate of how physician-owned specialty clinics are affecting the nation's health-care market.

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