SAN DIEGO: Rep. Filner Hosts HMO Reform Forum
U.S. Rep. Bob Filner (D-San Diego) heard a host of HMO grievances yesterday at a public forum in San Diego. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Filner "called the forum to gather ammunition for a congressional debate expected this summer on a proposed federal 'bill of rights' to protect HMO patients." Among the 100 or so "patients, doctors and others" who attended, Filner heard complaints of HMOs not providing "timely health care," not providing necessary surgery and not authorizing sufficient home health care visits. One doctor "said HMO administrative costs and profits are so high that insufficient money is left for adequate care and necessary drugs often are not covered," according to the Union-Tribune. But several insurers and health plan administrators at the forum said "the burden of complying with some of the proposed patient protections would raise health care costs." Dr. Glenn Perelson, medical director of Community Health Group, "a local HMO serving many low-income people," said: "We're very strongly in favor of legislation that improves access to care. However, I would ask that the legislation be cautious about putting unnecessary handcuffs on plans such as ours." At the forum, Filner said the patients' bill of rights -- which would provide direct access to specialists and third party appeals for denied treatment, among other consumer rights -- "is needed" (Duerksen, 6/16). Click here to read more California Healthline coverage of managed care reform and the patients' bill of rights.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.