A state court judge in Alameda County, Calif., has dismissed efforts by physicians and a state medical society to kill a Blue Shield of California physician quality recognition program.
Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, set up a “Blue Ribbon” program to identify high-volume physicians in its provider directory who have received high quality ratings from a program organized by the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), San Francisco.
The PBGH rating program focuses mainly on efforts to improve preventive care and manage chronic conditions.
The California Medical Association (CMA), Sacramento, Calif., and two CMA member physicians sued, arguing that the Blue Ribbon Program is based on selective data and is given to physicians who cost Blue Shield of California less per visit than other physicians cost.
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Judge Steven Brick has dismissed the suit outright, arguing that the Blue Ribbon program is a form of “protected consumer information.”
To proceed with a suit involving protected information, Blue Shield of Califronia had a burden to “establish a probability of prevailing on merits,” Brick says in his ruling.
The plaintiffs “have failed to address or rebut defendants’ argument that the First Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] bars all of plaintiffs’ claims…” Brick says. “For this reason alone,