Orange County Settles Suit With Vietnamese Pharmacies
Orange County's Medi-Cal managed care plan, CalOptima, on Thursday agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by 20 Vietnamese-American pharmacy owners whose pharmacies were forced out of the plan's provider network when they declined to participate in an anti-fraud program, the Orange County Register reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The pharmacies alleged that the policy targeted independent pharmacies run by Vietnamese-Americans to the benefit of larger chain pharmacies. Pharmacy owners also said the anti-fraud program violated patient privacy rights (Perkes, Orange County Register, 8/16).
Under a one-year pilot program, CalOptima sought to require pharmacies to be certified by the not-for-profit Fraud Prevention Institute. CalOptima asserted that the program could help reduce costs (California Healthline, 2/2/05).
To resolve the suit, CalOptima will pay $285,000 to the pharmacies and allow them to rejoin the network. The judge in the case found no evidence of racial discrimination.
The anti-fraud program ended in 2006, as scheduled (Orange County Register, 8/16).