DIVIDED DOCTORS: Finding Less Common Ground on Health Bills
In a sign that market forces may be cracking the united front of the medical profession, a group of Illinois primary care doctors are siding with HMOs against the state medical society in the battle over state patients' rights legislation. Primary care doctors with the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians oppose a provision backed by the Illinois State Medical Society that would allow specialists to serve as primary care physicians. "It really is an insult to those who specialize in primary care to think anybody can do it," said Dr. Lee Sacks, president and CMO of Advocate Health Care. The state medical society also supports a right-to-sue bill, expected to come up for a vote this week, which the family doctors oppose. Dr. Steven Wilk, president of the academy, said, "[T]here is already a lot of regulation of medicine and we don't think adding new loopholes to jump through is going to help anybody." However, family doctors and the medical society have found common ground on a provision that would require health plans to abide by the decisions of an independent appeals board. "You want decision-making at the bedside and in the examining room and not at the end of an 800 line," said Dr. Richard Geline, president of the Illinois Medical Society (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 3/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.