PROVIDER NETWORKS: MedPartners Debacle Signals a Need for Reform
Although the state's decision last week to seize control of MedPartners Provider Network Inc. "was the right one," a Los Angeles Times editorial argues that regulators need to address the root problem of "failure to monitor and regulate 'physician management networks' like MedPartners." As Gov. Gray Davis is expected to announce next month a new regulatory agency to oversee managed care, he "should use the occasion to outline concrete steps" for the new agency to look into the financial dealings of managed care companies, the Times says, adding that the governor "should also urge legislators to clarify how physician networks are regulated." In addition, the state "should establish a reserve fund to cushion health provider failures." The Times concludes that if the state cannot find a satisfactory way to oversee physician networks it should change the law that allows these "middlemen in managed care" (3/17). A Sacramento Bee editorial echoes many of the same sentiments, adding, however, that regulators "should also pull some medical charts" because they are charge with monitoring "the quality of care ... as intensely as ... quantity of cash" (3/17).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.