NU Online News Service, June 15, 2004, 7:15 p.m. EDT – The California Association of Health Underwriter, Sacramento, Calif., says it will ask state lawmakers again next year to protect consumers from outrageous hospital specialty care bills.[@@]
Many lawmakers and interest groups, including the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Los Angeles, have supported Assembly Bill 2389, a CAHU-backed patient protection bill, but the Senate Health Committee bill docket appears to be too crowded this summer for the bill to get out the door, CAHU says.
A.B. 2389 would have required hospital preferred provider contracts to include provisions for payment of most of the non-network doctors who help them care for patients.
The amended version of the bill would have excluded emergency room doctors, but it would have applied to anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists and other hospital-based doctors.
CAHU sponsored the bill, which was written by Assemblymember Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, Calif., because many members have heard complaints from insured consumers about receiving huge, unexpected bills from out-of-network anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists and other specialists who helped care for them while they were in in-network hospitals, CAHU says.