Case Details

Year Initiated/Committed


Year Resolved


Settlement Amount



United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina

Docket Number


Lead State


Participating States



The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority d/b/a Carolinas healthcare System

Case Description

North Carolina and USDOJ filed suit alleging that Atrium Health, formerly known as Carolinas HealthCare System illegally reduced competition in the health care market in Charlotte and limited consumers’ ability to shop around for better deals on health care. Atrium is based in Charlotte and operates Carolinas Medical Center and nine other hospitals in the Charlotte area. It dominates the hospital market in the Charlotte region with a 50 percent share of the market and approximately $8.7 billion in annual revenues. The state alleged that Atrium acted unlawfully to preserve its dominance in the Charlotte health care market by using its market power to require steering restrictions in its contracts with every major insurer. These provisions have prevented insurers from, among other things, introducing health plans that encourage patients to use medical providers that offer lower priced, higher-quality services. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and attorneys fees. After the court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, the parties settled. Under the terms of the settlement, Atrium is prohibited from using anticompetitive steering restrictions in contracts between commercial health insurers and its providers in the Charlotte, North Carolina metropolitan area. These steering restrictions prevented health insurers from promoting innovative health benefit plans and more cost-effective healthcare services to consumers.