New Web Site Provides Forum for HMO Issues
Citizens for Patients' Rights, a new not-for-profit organization in Connecticut, has launched a Web site dedicated to giving consumers information about managed care plans and ways to resolve disputes with insurers, the Connecticut Post reports. The group was founded last month by physicians associated with the Fairfield County Medical Association, which also helped to fund the launch of the site, www.ctpatientsrights.org. Visitors to the site can find information about their right to appeal an HMO's denial of coverage, information on individual HMOs and a toll-free number that consumers can call for further help. People with complaints about a particular insurer can use the site to report them to media outlets, lawmakers or the state's managed care ombudsman. In addition, Citizens for Patients' Right is building an "ongoing anonymous database" of these reported complaints. Speaking at a recent dinner marking the founding of the organization, attorney Katherine Sacks said that a "solid body of evidence provided by numerous patient reports on an alleged abuse would give legislators the tools they need" to undertake managed care reform. On the industry side, Kevin Stover, a lobbyist for the Connecticut Association of Health Plans, said that the new site "could be helpful if it focused on educating patients rather than attacking HMOs" (Ambrosini, Connecticut Post, 3/30).