This article examines the role of collective physician participation in the third-party reimbursement system. It critiques the Havighurst-Kissam analysis of the antitrust implications of professionally-developed relative value guides and using lessons derived from the only litigated case on relative value guides, argues that collective physician input into third-party reimbursement plans can be made in a manner which is consistent with the antitrust laws and cost-containment policy objectives. In particular, collective “negotiations” by organized physicians with third parties, unaccompanied by fee agreements among physicians or by actual or threatened physician boycotts, are found to be procompetitive and hence permissible under the rule of reason.

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