Statement to the News Media - Physician Payment Changes
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
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