Healthcare cooperatives of the State of Bahia sign agreements with CADE
Cease and Desist Agreement
This Wednesday (9 December), the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) signed three Cease and Desist Agreements (TCC in its acronym in Portuguese) with healthcare cooperatives of the state of Bahia, investigated in a proceeding that analyses alleged anticompetitive conducts in the sector of medical services of Bahia. The cooperatives Coopercati (Cooperative for Interventional Cardiologists of Bahia), Coopercolo (Cooperative for Coloproctollogy, Oncological Surgery and Digestive System Surgery of Bahia) and Coopervasc (Cooperative for Angiology and Vascular and Endovascular Surgery) have committed to pay a total amount of around BRL 2.8 million as a financial contribution.
Another commitment set by the agreement is to cease the anticompetitive conducts and cooperate with CADE's investigations. Furthermore, compliance policies and programs were adopted to ensure the fulfilment of antitrust rules. Additionally, the cooperatives must submit periodic reports do CADE on their compliance activities.
As to the penalties in case of non-compliance, in addition to fines, the agreements establish the cooperatives' demerger in up to 30% of the total amount of medical specialists in the operation sector of each of them. By limiting the number of cooperating professionals, CADE seeks to prevent or hinder potential recurrence of the conduct.
The amount of the financial contribution established for each cooperative is: BRL 579,259.43 to Coopervasc; BRL 1,496,252.68 to Coopercati; and BRL 734,784.66 to Coopercolo, which will be collected to the Fund for De Facto Joint Rights (FDD).
About the investigation
CADE investigations started after a complaint made to the Prosecution Services of the State of Bahia by the medical health insurance Central Nacional Unimed. Altogether, 12 healthcare cooperatives of the state of Bahia are investigated by the agency for alleged economic crimes.
According to the complaint, the cooperatives took advantage of their services relevance and their dominant power to set unrealistic prices for the local market. Furthermore, the organisations have been accused of adopting the strategy of attracting the greatest number as possible of medical specialists, who agreed not to negotiate separately with the medical health insurances.
Additionally, Unimed reported that cooperating professionals held accreditation agreements with health insurances solely for medical appointments, aiming for patient attraction. However, in case patients of health insurances needed any surgical procedure, they would be informed that the health insurance does not cover the services and are even encouraged by the medical doctors to file an injunction against the insurance.
After the cease and desist agreement signature, the administrative proceeding is suspended as to the cooperatives Coopervasc, Coopercati and Coopercolo until declared full compliance with the set commitments.
Access the Administrative Proceedings 08700.000694/2017-56.