MANAGED CARE: Two Docs Speak Out In Consumer Column
In his column today, Los Angeles Times consumer reporter Ken Reich takes a look at two doctors' complaints with managed care companies. Reich notes that two other doctors had contacted him with complaints about managed care, but backed off because of fear of professional repercussions. The doctors he profiles are both older and semi-retired and "feel that at this stage of life, they probably can't be hurt by reprisals. Dr. Murray Zimmerman, a dermatologist and clinical professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Southern California, "is suing Aetna U.S. Healthcare in small claims court for payment for the time he spent researching an appeal to Aetna to allow him to prescribe Lamisil for a diabetic patient." The company twice asked Zimmerman for additional documentation of his request, and he wants the company to compensate him at his customary rate of $400 per hour for the eight hours he spent doing the research. He said he is filing the suit just to prove a point. "If I weren't a semiretired and hostile old fart, I wouldn't have spent eight hours on an appeal for a single patient," he said. And Dr. Leonard Asher, "an internist who has long practiced at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. ... has been trying to collect a 3-year-old bill for his services to Cigna Property and Casualty. Cigna says the bill for work done to defend the insurer in court was improperly coded, but after being contacted by Reich about the story, indicated that some of the money would be forthcoming (Reich, Los Angeles Times, 9/17).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.