ER CARE REFUSALS: The Blame Game
A Los Angeles Times editorial on yesterday's article detailing a growing rebellion among specialists who are refusing to care for ER patients because of low managed care reimbursements notes that there "is plenty of blame to go around. ... Where is the state Department of Health Services, which is responsible for ensuring that emergency rooms have adequate, trained staffs? The state's managed care regulator, the Department of Corporations, is also remiss for not disciplining managed care plans that don't pay up when emergency rooms treat the plans' patients, as required under a 1995 law. Federal regulators are lax in enforcement of a similar emergency care law that pertains to all hospitals that accept Medicare payments." In addition, the Times notes, while doctors complaints may be justified, they "should be held accountable if they enter a contract with a hospital to provide expert care in emergencies then cynically exploit contractual loopholes to escape their obligation." The Times calls for an increase in state reimbursement for ER care for the uninsured, and says "[i]n return, the California Medical Assn. should stop fighting efforts by the California Medical Board to beef up its admittedly lax discipline of physicians who shirk medical obligations" (6/2).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.