MEDPARTNERS: Docs Ordered to Continue Seeing Patients
Saying the move "endangered the health" of patients, state regulators ordered doctors affiliated with the troubled MedPartners Provider Network Inc. to continue treating patients that Blue Cross of California switched to other doctors. Eugene Froelich, conservator appointed to oversee the state takeover of MedPartners, said Blue Cross pulling its enrollees from MedPartners-affiliated groups disrupted patient care over the weekend, including care for some patients receiving chemotherapy. Although the state issued a cease-and-desist order to Blue Cross last Friday, officials would not say whether they would comply. "We're having ongoing discussions with the state and we want to be cooperative, but we're still trying to figure out how best to proceed," said Blue Cross spokesperson John Cygul. The Los Angeles Times reports that other large HMOs such as PacifiCare of California, Cigna Healthcare of California and Health Net "seem to be giving Froelich their support," saying they do not plan to move patients to non-MedPartners affiliated medical groups (Maharaj, 3/23).
Can't Touch This
In related news, the provider network's parent company, MedPartners Inc. announced yesterday that it had reached an agreement with its creditors modifying the terms of its credit agreement to remove any negative impact upon the parent company of the bankruptcy filing of the network. The company also reduced its term loans by 49% to $307 billion (release, 3/22).