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Legislative: Advocacy at the state Capitol for medical liability, managed care reform, and other issues that impact your practice
Educational programs: Specialized seminars tailored to physicians and their staff
Staff assistance: A research staff, including two paralegals and legal counsel, to assist you with almost any issue. Our staff of five has a combined total of over 100 years of work experience at FCMA.
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Vol 1 No 13
December 13, 2013
Medical Organizations Support FCMA/HCMA Legal Challenge of UHC
Yesterday, 20 medical organizations filed an amici curiae (a friend of the court brief) in support of the legal challenge brought by the Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations against UnitedHealthcare which is seeking to unfairly terminate physicians from its company's Medicare Advantage Plan network come February 2014.
As a reminder, on December 5, Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the United States District Court, District of Connecticut issued a preliminary injunction against UnitedHealthcare (UHC) significantly hampering the insurer’s efforts to terminate over 2000 Connecticut physicians as participating providers in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage plans.
At this point in the legal process, physician who are not members of FCMA and interested in supporting the legal challenge are encouraged to contact the Association. (To join the association, complete the attached application or go to www.fcma.org).
The list of organizations in support of the legal challenge is listed below; there may be others to join as well.
New Haven County Medical Association
New London County Medical Association
Middlesex County Medical Association
Tolland County Medical Association
Windham County Medical Association
Waterbury Medical Association
Connecticut Medical Specialty Societies:
CT Academy of Family Medicine
CT Chapter of the American College of Surgeons
CT Infectious Disease Society
CT Orthopedic Society
CT Psychiatric Society
State Medical Associations:
California Medical Association
Connecticut State Medical Society
Florida Medical Association
Medical Society of the State of New York
Medical Society of the State of New Jersey
Tennessee Medical Association
Texas Medical Association
National Medical Specialty Societies:
American Academy of Dermatology Association
Physician Advocacy Institute
Vol 1 No 12
December 10, 2013
Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations Score Win for Member Physicians
On Thursday evening, December 5, Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the United States District Court, District of Connecticut issued a preliminary injunction against UnitedHealthcare (UHC) significantly hampering the insurer’s efforts to terminate over 2000 Connecticut physicians as participating providers in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage plans.
The Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations brought the action after many of the Associations’ members received notices from UHC seeking to terminate the doctors’ participation status in UHC’s Medicare Advantage plans. FCMA’s legal counsel, Garfunkel Wild, PC, handled the legal challenge for the Associations. In the lawsuit, Attorney Roy Breintenbach argues that UHC’s actions breached the terms of the physician-members’ participation agreements with UHC, as well as Medicare regulations. Strongly believing that UHC’s actions would irreparably harm physician/patient relationships, the continuity of care, the affected physicians, and the delivery of medical care in the affected areas, the Associations sought an emergency injunction to restrain the terminations.
After conducting an emergency hearing last week, Judge Underhill issued a 19-page decision finding that the Associations were likely to succeed on their claims that UHC’s attempted terminations violated the physician-members’ participating provider agreements. Judge Underhill also found that UHC’s actions would irreparably harm the physicians and their relationships with patients. Accordingly, the Court restrained UHC from:
- terminating any of the Associations’ physician-members from UHC’s Medicare Advantage Network;
- notifying their Medicare Advantage customers/insureds that certain providers will be terminated from the Medicare Advantage Network as of February 1, 2014; and
- removing or failing to advertise/market the Associations’ affected physicians in UHC’s 2014 directories for the Medicare Advantage Network
|On December 8, Judge Underhill denied UHC’s request to stay his decision granting a preliminary injunction. UHC has now filed a motion with the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City again requesting a stay of the preliminary injunction. The motion for the stay should be decided by early next week and the appeal will likely be considered by the Court in early January.|
Contact Mark Thompson, the Association’s executive director, should you have questions.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ann Baldwin Mark Thompson
Baldwin Media Marketing Fairfield County Medical Association
Office: (860) 408-1580 Office: (203) 513-2045
Cell: (860) 985-5621 Cell: (203) 816-7313
FEDERAL COURT RULING PREVENTS UNITEDHEALTHCARE
FROM CUTTING DOCTORS
On December 5, 2013, federal court Judge Stefan Underhill issued a decision granting the members of the Fairfield County Medical Association and Hartford County Medical Association a preliminary injunction preventing UnitedHealthcare from unilaterally cutting hundreds of doctors from the insurer’s Medicare Advantage Network.
The two medical associations filed the legal challenge in early November seeking to block UnitedHealthcare from terminating as many as 2250 physicians, or approximately 20 percent of its entire doctor network in Connecticut. The Associations estimate that as many as 20,000 to 30,000 Medicare patients could be impacted by UnitedHealthcare’s decision to eliminate a significant portion of its physicians in Connecticut.
“Both the Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations took this bold step for our patients and for our member physicians. We won’t let UnitedHeathcare get away with interfering with the doctor-patient relationship. While this is one huge step in the right direction, the journey is far from over,” said Dr. Robin Oshman, President of the Fairfield County Medical Association in response to the judge’s decision.
The preliminary injunction order prohibits UnitedHealthcare from terminating any of the Associations’ members from the Medicare Advantage Network, notifying their Medicare Advantage customers/insured that certain providers will be terminated from Medicare Advantage Network as of February 1, 2014; and removing or failing to advertise/market the Association’s affected physicians in UnitedHealthcare’s 2014 directories for the Medicare Advantage Network.
“This major ruling by Judge Stefan Underhill is proof that the voices of our patients and the 1800 member physicians were heard loud and clear! As physicians we are first and foremost advocates for our patients and for their access to the medical care they deserve. That will continue to be our focus moving forward,” stated Dr. Bollepalli Subbarao, President of the Hartford County Medical Association.
“This preliminary injunction protects some of the most vulnerable patients, mainly the elderly, disabled and some of whom have terminal illnesses. This is a victory for not only the 3300 plus member physicians of Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations; it also speaks clearly to the importance of not allowing health insurance companies to place profits ahead of patient care,” said Attorney Roy W. Breitenbach of Garfunkel Wild, PC, an attorney for the Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations.
About Hartford County Medical Association (HCMA) & Fairfield County Medical Association (FCMA): The Hartford County Medical Association & Fairfield County Medical Associations are professional associations representing physicians from every medical specialty and practice setting as well as medical students, interns and residents. For more than 221 years, HCMA& FCMA have been at the forefront of current medicine, ensuring that its members are represented in the areas of public policy, government relations and community relations. For more information visit www.hcma.org and www.fcma.org.
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We have a list of our events displayed here as a reminder for our membership and their staff. To register online, click on the dropdown "calendar" and choose an end date (we suggest December 20 to allow all the events to appear) and click filter. To download and print the registration form, just click on the title of the program you wish to attend in the information below.
- December 5: Connecticut 2014 Medicare Update - The Continental Manor - 12 Noon to 2:00 p.m.
Thank you for your interest and participation in our educational seminars.
We'll be posting 2014's schedule early next year.