American medical groups protesting physician cuts

American medical groups protesting physician cuts

(HealthDay)—Medical societies are taking action against the mass cancellations of physicians in Medicare Advantage plans in many states, according to an article published online Nov. 22 in Medical Economics.

Daniel R. Verdon discusses the response of medical groups to the cancellation of an estimated 2,250 physicians in Connecticut's UnitedHealthcare's Medical Advantage network, and other similar cancellations in at least 11 states.

In Connecticut, two medical societies have filed a temporary restraining order against UnitedHealthcare, with the court hearing slated for Nov. 25. The American Medical Association (AMA) and 81 other medical groups reported that these and other terminations were without cause. Furthermore, the notices were sent in unmarked envelopes and were discarded by many practices. The AMA is asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure Medicare Advantage sponsors document that patients received notice of whether their current will be in the 2014 network; ensure patients can retain their physician by choosing fee for service or a product with out-of-network benefit; provide information on how many patients have been impacted; and direct plans to hold all terminations initiated just prior to or during enrollment for 2014.

A letter from the AMA and the other 81 medical groups, including the American College of Physicians and American Osteopathic Association, to CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner states that, "there is widespread evidence that the proposed modification will disrupt long-established patient-physician relationships, interfere with existing physician referral networks, and undermine emergency department coverage in many hospitals."

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