West Va. hospitals sued over advertising agreement

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Charleston Area Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital, claiming the hospitals split their marketing territories and kept area residents from getting information about competing health care services.
    
The Gazette-Mail in Charleston reports (bit.ly/23Ft7vU) the antitrust lawsuit alleges that, for years, the medical center agreed not to advertise on billboards or in print in Cabell County, while St. Mary’s, in Huntington, didn’t advertise in Kanawha County. Federal prosecutors say that disrupted competition and deprived patients of health care information.
    
Charleston Area Medical Center spokesman Dale Witte says the hospital has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to settle the matter and avoid expensive litigation.
    
He says the hospital doesn’t agree with the allegations.

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