Hospital industry

UnitedHealth steering patients away from hospitals to cheaper care

Insurance giant UnitedHealth is strengthening its effort to steer patients receiving outpatient surgery away from hospitals and toward cheaper physician offices or ambulatory surgery centers, Modern Healthcare reports.

The big picture: This is part of a growing effort to address the fact that hospitals charge higher prices for the same outpatient services than other facilities.

Sutter Health settles antitrust case

Sutter Health sign.
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Sutter Health has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing the hospital system of price-gouging, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Spokespeople for California's attorney general and Sutter told Axios the terms of the settlement are confidential, and they could not comment further until the court approved the deal.

The big picture: Hospital systems have never been more concentrated, and this is now the second major settlement in the past 12 months involving a state going after alleged anticompetitive activity from dominant hospitals. The first involved Atrium Health.