Washington Law Review


Donna M. Moniz


In Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists v. Blue Shield of Virginia, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Blue Shield violated section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act because Blue Shield refused to pay psychologists who did not bill through physicians. The court held that Blue Shield constituted a conspiracy of individual physicians acting to reduce competition in the delivery of psychotherapeutic services. This holding significantly enhances the ability of psychologists and other licensed health care providers to compete with physicians. This Note discusses Virginia Academy in light of the pertinent antitrust doctrines. It approves the Fourth Circuit's holding and recognition of physician control of Blue Shield. It criticizes, however, the court's failure to label the defendants' conduct a boycott. This Note proposes judicial application of the per se rule rather than the Rule of Reason in cases such as Virginia Academy in order to bring them more in line with classic antitrust doctrine.

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