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Alliance for Patient Access Wants Health Care Code of Conduct
Date:5/11/2009

Insurers Negatively Affect Patient Care, Interfere with Prescribed Therapies

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California chapter of the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA), a national network of over 250 physicians with the shared mission of ensuring and protecting patient access to approved medical treatments and therapies, today cited a recent survey of California doctors across the state which revealed a large number of physicians believe insurance companies are getting in the way of treating patients as yet another example of why California needs a Health Insurers Code of Conduct. Last year the American Medical Association's (AMA) House of Delegates unanimously voted to develop a Health Insurer Code of Conduct. The AfPA supported that measure and has launched a website, www.insurepatientaccess.org, to collect petition signatures from the public calling for a Code of Conduct for health insurers.

"This survey demonstrates very clearly the pressure doctors face to alter treatments for their patients," stated Dr. Jack Schim, Chairman of the California Alliance for Patient Access. "From unwarranted rescissions and denials of coverage for prescribed medications and treatments, the actions of health insurance companies in this state are seemingly more focused on improving the bottom line instead of improving patient care."

The survey, released recently by the California Medical Association, found:

  • 87% believe the limits and restrictions that insurance companies place on doctors is a major problem.
  • 84% have felt pressured to change the way they treat a patient because of a restriction from an insurance company.
  • 86% said insurance policies cause them to select a course of treatment they might not otherwise choose.
  • 89% said they felt pressured to change a prescription medication because of a restriction from an insurance company. (SOURCE: http://www.cmanet.org/publicdoc.cfm/2/1/presssection2/457)

California's AfPA has called upon its physician members to encourage health insurers to take an important first step towards putting the focus back on the patient by proactively adopting a National Health Insurer Code of Conduct.

AfPA believes that any Code of Conduct that is established should create clinical autonomy to allow physicians to make decisions based upon patient needs without artificial barriers. The Code should also facilitate transparency as well as the disclosure of information regarding health plan benefits and policies that will help assist patients in making decisions.

Finally, an ideal Code of Conduct would address corporate integrity and patient safety and wellness, ensuring patients are always put before profits. A National Health Insurer Code of Conduct would restore the balance of power between health plans and doctor-patient relationships.

For more information on the Health Care Code of Conduct, visit www.insurepatientaccess.org.

The Alliance for Patient Access is a national network of over 250 physicians with the shared mission of ensuring and protecting patient access to approved medical treatments and therapies, including prescription pharmaceuticals, biologics, and medical devices. We accomplish this mission through educating members on policy priorities and training them to be effective patient advocates.


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SOURCE Alliance for Patient Access
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