More Sonoma County Doctors File Motions to End Contracts with Health Plan of the Redwoods
An additional 21 doctors last Friday filed motions with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Rosa to end to their contracts with Health Plan of the Redwoods, which they said has become "increasingly unstable" and "is hurting the viability of their practices," the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Over the past three weeks, about 40 doctors -- specialists whom HPR reimburses on a fee-for-service basis -- have asked to be released from their contracts with the health insurer, which filed for federal bankruptcy protection on May 31. According to the motions, the doctors have had to "shoulder an unfair portion" of HPR's $23 million debt and "simply can't afford to continue" with the health insurer without reimbursement for services (Allday, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6/22). As part of HPR's bankruptcy reorganization plan, which the court must approve, hospitals and doctors with HPR contracts would have to "slow their billings and reimbursement requests for services." Although fee-for-service doctors have not received reimbursements, doctors who contracted with HPR on a capitation basis have received monthly reimbursements during the bankruptcy proceedings (California Healthline, 6/13). Last Friday, HPR filed papers with the bankruptcy court that criticized the doctors' motions as "parochial and self-serving." According to the papers, a decision to allow doctors to end their contracts with HPR "may well doom efforts to reorganize." In addition to the doctors' motions, which the court plans to consider Thursday, the Sonoma Valley Health Care District filed papers last week to protest HPR's plan to drop coverage for 11,300 individuals enrolled in Medi-Prime, HPR's Medicare HMO (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6/22).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.