WELLPOINT: Ordered To Enter Arbitration With Doctors
A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled last week that Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. must "submit to arbitration" with a group of doctors who contend the Woodland Hills-based managed care company "violated its contract by paying them less than promised." Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times reports that Judge David Garcia ruled that the 13,000 doctors have "the right to compel arbitration as a group" because their claims against Wellpoint are similar. Garcia's ruling is a "setback" for Wellpoint, which wanted to deal with the doctors' claims individually in its "3-year-old payment dispute" with about a third of the doctors with whom it contracts. Wellpoint is the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California. "This is a case about physicians signing a contract with Blue Cross to provide services at set fees and Blue Cross breaching that contract," said the doctors' attorney, Edward Sangster. Wellpoint officials could not be reached for comment (7/23).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.