ORANGE COUNTY: Greater Newport Physicians’ Group Threatens to Drop PacifiCare
While renewing contracts for next year with Aetna and HealthNet, Greater Newport Physicians on Friday "threatened to terminate" its contract with Santa Ana's PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. unless the HMO boosts its rates, the Orange County Register reports. Greater Newport, which serves 40,000 PacifiCare members in Orange County, will not accept any new PacifiCare patients until the two sides agree upon a new contract, according to Greater Newport Executive Director Diane Laird. Of Aetna and HealthNet, Laird said, "They addressed our concerns, and we feel we want to partner with health plans that are willing to be full partners in the delivery system, not just pass on the risk to providers." The current agreement with PacifiCare, Greater Newport's largest managed care contract, expires Dec. 31. PacifiCare officials could not be reached for comment. Noting the seriousness of the back-to-back decisions against managed care by Greater Newport and St. Joseph Health System -- which on Thursday announced it would stop accepting new HMO patients from 17 managed care organizations because it was losing money -- Elizabeth McNeil, vice president of the California Medical Association, warned, "It's another red flag that's going up to everyone across California that we have inadequate financing in our health care system. We've got to do something to protect patient care, which is to make sure there are enough dollars to provide that care" (Wolfson, 7/1).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.