EXTERNAL REVIEW: Inland Empire Health Plan Launches Voluntary Program
Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) announced this week the launch of its external review program, placing the plan among the first of 16 state HMOs that pledged in December to do so by the end of 1999. CEO Richard Bruno stressed that the health plan "decided not to wait for Sacramento to try again" to pass external review legislation following last year's failure, but will instead forge ahead with its program as an important initiative to "maintain our members' trust." He said, "At the time of the [December] announcement, IEHP had nearly finished preparing our [program]. ... We saw no reason why our members should not have external independent review immediately available to them. It's good for all concerned -- the patient, the doctor, and the health plan -- to have a third-party, medical expert review the case history to make sure appropriate care is given." Reviews will be conducted by an independent organization that selects physicians well-versed in the issue under review -- neither of which will maintain any financial affiliation with the health plan or enrollee. IEHP, a "local initiative, nonprofit health plan created by Riverside and San Bernadino counties," provides coverage to 133,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries and 2,000 children enrolled in Healthy Families. The plan's External Independent Review program can be viewed at www.iehp.org, or obtained from Bob Sutton at 909-890-2016 (IEHP release, 5/12).
Click here to read about last week's launch of Blue Shield of California's external review program.