The legal battle centers on 'secret ´bonuses paid to select brokers for switching employers from other insurance plans to Aultman’s insurance company, AultCare.Aultman Hospital is AultCare’s only in-network hospital in Canton.'
At the end of the two-month trial in Stark County Common Please Court, jurors decided Aultman should pay Mercy more than $6.1 million in damages for engaging n a pattern of corrupt activity by influencing brokers with money.'Evidence during the trial showed that for a period of time, brokers weren’t allowed to disclose the payments to anyone, even the clients they represented.Aultman officials have said the confidentiality requirement was dropped in 2004, well before Mercy filed its lawsuit.
Aultman has continued to criticize the case Mercy filed, calling it a waste of resource for the non-profit health-care organizations.'We have always felt that this case was not positive for our community, that resources were shifted in a way that was not beneficial to the community' [the attorney representing Aultman, Allen] Schulman said. 'I don’t think that it serves the community well.'[ Mercy President and Chief Executive Thomas] Cecconi said Mercy felt an obligation to fight Aultman’s business practices for the community’s sake.