A Reston physician has accused the American Medical Association, local hospitals, medical societies and insurance companies of driving him out of the business because he advertised that he would deliver a baby for $90.
In an antitrust lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Dr. H. Barry Jacobs, 37, alleges that the AMA and 17 other defendants conspired to destroy his practice and deprive him of income. He is asking for damages totalling $2.95 million.
Most area doctors charge about $600 for delivering a baby, well above the price Jacobs said he listed in brochures and newspaper ads.
The AMA long has opposed doctors' advertising their services and fees.
Jacobs alleges that because he advertised, the AMA encouraged local medical societies to refuse his application for membership and to expel him from those groups to which he already belonged.
This made it impossible for Jacobs to obtain reasonably priced malpractice insurance, the suit states. In addition, Jacobs claims, he was refused permission to practice at several local hospitals and could not rent space in medical office buildings because of the medical societies' alleged actions.
"There is only one ballgame in town and you must be a member of the medical society to play," said Jacobs, who is now director of Malpractice Research, Inc., a consulting agency based in Reston that specializes in medical litigation.
Officials of the AMA and local medical associations yesterday either said that they had not yet been served with court papers or were unavailable for comment.