Hospital Group Challenges Blue Cross Payment Policy
The California Hospital Association on Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging a policy under which Blue Cross of California will reimburse physicians at lower rates for colonoscopies performed in hospitals than for colonoscopies performed in their offices or ambulatory surgery centers, the Los Angeles Times reports (Yi, Los Angeles Times, 6/9).
Under the policy, Blue Cross will reduce by 20% payments to physicians for colonoscopies performed in hospitals and increase physician payments to 5% above standard fees when colonoscopies are performed in physician offices or ASCs.
The policy is slated to take effect July 1 (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).
CHA says the policy will compromise patient safety (Los Angeles Times, 6/9). However, officials from Blue Cross' parent company WellPoint say that colonoscopies can cost 10 times more in a hospital setting than in other settings. WellPoint spokesperson Robert Alaniz said that the lawsuit is motivated by concerns about revenue rather than patient safety.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).