LOS ANGELES, June 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Citrus Obstetrics & Gynecology Medical Associates, Inc. (Citrus Obstetrics), formerly the local, independent OB/GYN practice of Dr. Carlos Beharie, M.D. for 16 years, today filed suit against the East San Gabriel Valley's largest health care facilities, Citrus Valley Health Partners and Citrus Valley Medical Center, and their affiliated medical group practice, Citrus Valley Physician Partners, Inc.
The complaint filed this morning in California Superior Court in Pomona, California seeks millions in damages and sets out specific facts alleging a conspiracy by hospital management and individual doctors to destroy Dr. Beharie's practice by taking OB/GYN physicians under contract with him, encouraging two major federally qualified health centers to switch away from Dr. Beharie's practice, and faking negotiations to purchase Dr. Beharie's practice at fair value while all the time planning to take that for which they wouldn't pay fair value.
"This case is not just about Dr. Beharie; an entire community is being hurt here," said Ed Susolik, attorney for Dr. Beharie's practice. "This is just one example of the sad trend we are seeing nationwide of the death of family and community oriented physician practices at the hands of hospital conglomerates."
Dr. Beharie's practice was the largest OB/GYN practice in the West Covina area (which has been designated by the Department of Health & Human Services' Health Resources & Services Administration as a "Medically Underserved Area"), providing obstetrics and gynecology services to women in that community, many of them low-income, Hispanic women, for 16 years. Before being driven out of business, Dr. Beharie's practice was the only major OB/GYN group in the area serving high risk obstetric patients likely to deliver premature babies. He became well-known, trusted, and beloved in this underserved Hispanic community to treat such women, who now find themselves unable to receive the personal care formerly provided by Dr. Beharie's practice.
The complaint alleges that the hospital progressively made it more difficult for Dr. Beharie's practice to treat its patients by first inducing three of his physicians, Jason Begley, Arthur Escamillo, and Ann Terai, to abandon him in violation of their contracts. At the same time, the hospital instructed its own physicians who had previously provided coverage to Dr. Beharie's patients to stop doing so
"If only one of Dr. Begley, Dr. Escamillo, and Dr. Terai had left Plaintiff, or if all three left but over a more prolonged period, Plaintiff would have been able to continue its practice. However, the departure of all of them on the same day crippled Plaintiff and made it virtually impossible for Plaintiff to continue servicing its contracts and patients."
"Defendants had now taken several of Plaintiff's employed physicians and hired these physicians themselves, and directed their own physicians to refrain from providing coverage to Plaintiff. Defendants' scheme ensured Plaintiff did not have the capability to treat all of its patients."
The complaint also alleges that patients were negatively impacted by this:
"As a result, Plaintiff was deprived of adequate staff to care for its patients, which caused two major health centers to terminate their referral relationship with Plaintiff…" "
"…Plaintiff was forced to close shortly after that, and Plaintiff's patients had to then use Defendants' facilities and staff, both of which were new and unfamiliar to them, during a vulnerable time of their lives."
"It was a scary feeling when I called Dr. Beharie's office to make an appointment and was told that I would no longer be able to see my doctor," said Allison Gladney, a former patient of Dr. Beharie's practice. "I trusted Dr. Beharie and his staff. Other OB/GYN physicians refused to see me because of my high risk pregnancy, and I will now have to travel longer distances to doctors I don't know and will not receive the same personal care I had at Dr. Beharie's office."
The lawsuit seeks millions of dollars in damages for the loss in value of Dr. Beharie's practice, treble damages under California's Cartwright Act, as well as punitive damages for the hospital's malicious and predatory behavior. A copy of the complaint can be found at www.thetruthaboutcitrusvalleymedicalcenter.com.
Callahan & Blaine, one of California's premier litigation law firms, is leading the litigation for Plaintiff Citrus Obstetrics, with Lanny Davis of Davis Goldberg & Galper PLLC, former White House Special Counsel to President Clinton.
SOURCE Lanny Davis