CALIFORNIA: HMO CZAR ABRUPTLY RESIGNS
California's chief HMO regulator abruptly resigned FridayThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
only months after winning "a bruising confirmation fight" in the
state Legislature. Los Angeles Times reports that Keith Bishop,
state commissioner of corporations, will step down from the
position effective September 30. In his resignation letter to
Gov. Pete Wilson (R), Bishop "cited the 'financial obligations of
rearing and educating three children.'" In an interview, Bishop
said he plans to return to private law practice. Sean Walsh, a
Wilson spokesperson, said that no successor will be named
immediately. He said, "We need to do some searches."
Bishop, who served as acting director of the Corporations
Commission since 1996, was criticized during confirmation
hearings last spring for "failing to act on consumer complaints
against" HMOs, including not enforcing a rule "requiring HMOs to
publicize a toll-free consumer hotline." Upon his resignation,
Bishop said that the department is "in real good shape," but the
Los Angeles Times notes that his departure comes as "Wilson and
the Legislature are struggling to create an updated regulatory
system for the managed care industry." Click here to read an
American Health Line interview with Bishop about these efforts.
SO LONG, FAREWELL
Jamie Court of the Los Angeles-based Consumers for Quality
Care criticized Bishop's record as "unremarkable" and said "he
was not aggressive in pursuing quality-of-care offenders." Myra
Synder, executive officer of the California Association of Health
Plans, said she is concerned that Bishop's unexpected and abrupt
departure will harm the department and impede efforts to develop
HMO regulatory reforms. She said, "The department definitely
benefits from continuity and leadership. We were at the
beginning stage of developing a working relationship with him"