Health care reform may prompt antitrust violations

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Accountable care organizations should use caution in formation not to engage in illegal anti-competitive conduct.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act calls for the implementation of a new health care delivery model - an "accountable care organization" intended to promote better care at lower cost through health care provider accountability, investment in infrastructure, redesigned care processes and coordination among different types of providers. ACOs, in the form contemplated by the statute, will inevitably raise significant antitrust concerns at the formation stage as they contemplate collaborative arrangements among actual or potential competitors.

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