HMO REFORM: Davis Lays Out Priorities as Meetings Begin
Over the protests of consumer groups, who complained that they have been excluded from the process, Gov. Gray Davis met yesterday in a closed-door session with "key lawmakers and HMO representatives" to hash out a managed care reform package. Beth Capell, a lobbyist for Health Access California, said, "We're disappointed that there is a lack of consumer representation at this point. There's not a single consumer group in the room and we're very troubled by that." A Davis spokesperson said that consumer groups have been involved in past meetings and would likely be involved in future meetings. The Sacramento Bee reports that one consumer representative, Peter Lee of the Center for Health Care Rights, was invited to attend the meeting, but declined because "it was not open to the public" (Smith, 7/21).
Davis yesterday laid out his priorities for HMO reform, saying he "wants more liability for HMOs, outside review of disputed medical decisions and a guarantee that doctors make the final calls on treatment." He said, "I think we can form consensus around those concepts" (Lindlaw, AP/Sacramento Bee, 7/21). Davis also said "he wants to create a new state department to oversee the industry after years of complaints from doctors and consumers that the Department of Corporations has been too cozy with the companies it is supposed to regulate" (Weintraub, Orange County Register, 7/20).