Silicon Valley-Area Medical Group, Insurer Verbally Agree to Contract
The Santa Clara County Individual Practice Association, Silicon Valley's largest medical group, and insurer PacifiCare have reached an oral agreement to extend their contract through 2005 and will likely formalize the deal next week, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Two weeks ago, SCCIPA threatened to not renew its contract with PacifiCare in a dispute over how much the insurer would reimburse the medical group for patient care, the News reports. That move would have required about 17,500 people who have PacifiCare insurance and use SCCIPA doctors to find new doctors or change insurers as early as July 30. If a contract is reached, "It would be a victory for patients," Steven Fisher, a spokesperson for the state Department of Managed Health Care, said. Dr. Larry Bonham, president and CEO of SCCIPA, said that a new contract agreement would mean "patients won't have any interruption in care." However, Cheryl Randolph, a spokesperson for PacifiCare, blamed SCCIPA for worrying patients about the contract, saying, "There was never not a contract. It's unfortunate our members were confused and concerned" (Francisco/Sevrens Lyons, San Jose Mercury News, 6/20).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.