KPC Bankruptcy Provides Test for DMHC
The confusion surrounding the closure of 38 KPC Medical Management clinics is "exacerbating the already tense relations between doctors and health plans," providing the "first real test" for the newly created Department of Managed Health Care, the Orange County Register reports. Former KPC patients and their providers have reported several problems, including accessing medical records, locating lab results and getting prescriptions filled. Peter Warren, spokesperson for the California Medical Association, said, "The health plans and the Department of Managed Health Care ought to be providing a seamless, invisible transition for patients. Anything less is not acceptable." He added, "Neither the state nor the health plans has a coherent set of guidelines or protocols for handling the increasingly common closing of medical groups due to insolvency." However, Daniel Zingale, director of DMHC, said that he was "well aware of the problem" and reminded former KPC patients that their health coverage did not end with KPC's closure. He said, "I would take every opportunity to remind patients in transition that a medical group going bankrupt does not mean that their insurance has come to an end. Their HMO was and remains responsible for the continuation of their health care." He added that the "chaos" resulting from KPC's bankruptcy highlights the need for "some minimal financial accountability for medical groups," something that the DMHC supports. "We have higher financial standards for people who sell frozen yogurt than for medical groups that provide health care," Zingale said (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 12/11).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.