DMHC Expands Regulatory Role to Include Medical Groups
Prompted by "repeated failures" of the state's independent practice associations, the Department of Managed Health Care is taking its "first tentative steps" to regulate the medical groups, the Ventura County Star reports. Between 1996 and 1999, 113 of 300 medical groups in the state closed or went bankrupt, according to the California Medical Association. Based on those numbers, the state Medical Financial Solvency Board, DMHC's governing body, earlier this year decided to ask medical groups to submit their financial statements to the department. The first reports were due on May 15, and DMHC officials believe about 75% of the groups complied with the request. While the agency cannot "punish" those groups that failed to return audits, DMHC officials plan to publish a list of groups that "did comply." DMHC Deputy Director Steve Fisher said, "We're in the early stages of this, but we're trying to get better accountability for consumers. We want to open up the lines of communication between medical groups, HMOs and consumers" (Smith, Ventura County Star, 5/29).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.