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25.04.2019 20:10
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Unintended Consequences: Working to Close AB 72's Legislative Loopholes

DRUCKEN

ORANGE, Calif., April 25, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- An important meeting recently took place in Sacramento among Assemblymember Jim Wood's chief of staff; George Kanaly, Ph.D, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AAMGI; and C. Perry Chu, M.D. President of AAMGI, to discuss the unintended consequences of Assembly Bill 72 for both patients and anesthesiologists.

When AB 72 was passed in 2016, the intent was to limit "surprise billing" situations for patients getting care at an in-network facility, but who were unknowingly being billed for out-of-network providers working within that facility. While its intent was good, the language of parts of the bill created loopholes that insurance companies leveraged to cancel the contracts of anesthesiologist groups at will. These anesthesia groups represent hundreds of thousands of patients in the region, who would, as a result, immediate lose access to the highest quality of care.

As insurance companies seek to squeeze out more profits, AB 72 in its present form encourages these companies to terminate long-standing contracts with anesthesia groups, reducing provider network strength and depth.

"In its current form, AB 72 is a severe blow to the people of California's ability to maintain access to high-quality anesthesia care. It will and has already started to cause many of the best anesthesiologists to choose other states in which to practice," Dr. C. Perry Chu reflects.

Dr. Chu and Dr. Kanaly had an amiable and productive conversation with Assemblymember Wood's Chief of Staff Elizabeth Snow and Kristene Mapilie, Principal Consultant to the California Assembly Committee on Health Services. The spirit of collaboration to improve the legislation was tangible in the room.

Assemblymember Wood has since introduced AB 1174 as an attempt to revise the unintended consequences of AB 72, and is attempting to install new language that will require health plans to better document the true adequacy of provider networks. With the support of such new language, insurance companies will not be able to cancel contracts at will, no longer putting hundreds of thousands of patients at risk of having an inadequate network of anesthesia providers.    

"We hope that this network adequacy amendment will prevent payers from abusing AB 72," Dr. Kanaly said.

The California Society of Anesthesiology (CSA) and the California Medical Association were pleased with the meeting and lent their enthusiastic support.

Allied Anesthesia Medical Group, INCS. (AAMGI) is a group of over 100 anesthesiologists who provide care at hospitals, surgical centers and specialty medical centers throughout Southern California. Allied physicians combine world-class medical expertise with unmatched levels of patient care.

Learn More at AlliedAnesthesia.com

 

SOURCE Allied Anesthesia

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