LEWISTON, Idaho, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement is issued
on behalf of John Ruch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Regence
BlueShield of Idaho, in response to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by a small group
of specialty physicians who are opposed to the company's shift to a more
balanced payment system for Idaho doctors:
-- Suing to protect higher physician fees is not in the patient's best
interest, as this small group of doctors claim.
-- This lawsuit is frivolous, filled with disingenuous information and
inaccuracies. We plan a vigorous fight because our customers deserve
the best protection we can provide.
-- We shifted to a more balanced payment system so that we could improve
payments for direct patient care services, and improve the environment
for primary care physicians, including pediatricians and family doctors
to practice in Idaho. We continually strive to find ways to increase
access for our members and control health care costs.
-- The new payments are still well above the regional averages and
represent a re-distribution, not a decrease in overall physician
payments. Idaho specialty physicians are still being paid up to
50% more than the regional average on most procedures.
-- The payment system is used by the U.S. government agency (Health Care
Financing Administration) charged with administering Medicare. This
system is nationally recognized and widely accepted as a consistent and
fair approach to reimbursing physicians and other providers. In fact,
most doctors in Idaho have been accepting this method of reimbursement
for their Medicare patients for years.
-- Of the over 2,600 doctors in our network, 95% have accepted the new
payment system, and our nearly 330,000 members appreciate the support
and commitment these doctors have shown.
-- We've been discussing with physicians for over 2 years ways to meet
their request for a consistent and understandable fee schedule. We
followed that with substantial notice of the change, and even delayed
implementation for more than 2 months at their request. We have acted
consistently with our contractual obligation and business practice to
update and modify physician fees.
SOURCE Regence BlueShield