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Leading African American Groups Call On Health Insurers to Dismiss Restrictive Practices
Date:8/13/2009

BALTIMORE, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- To protect the health of African Americans in Maryland, the Black Nurses Association of Baltimore and the Greater Baltimore Urban League have joined together to support a National Health Insurer Code of Conduct from the American Medical Association.

In Maryland, a large portion of the state's racial and ethnic minorities, including African Americans, face significant barriers to health care, including obtaining coverage for treatments and medications prescribed by their providers. More Maryland doctors are finding their ability to care for their patients negatively impacted by third parties. Combined with the cost of treatment, these health disparities can make it extremely difficult for patients to manage their disease and maintain a quality of life.

"In Maryland, African Americans with chronic diseases have problems gaining access to the right treatments for their conditions," Patricia Meadley, President of the Black Nurses Association of Baltimore, stated. "They're just not getting the care they need."

The American Medical Association's (AMA) Health Insurer Code of Conduct focuses on four areas: transparency, accountability, clinical autonomy and patient safety and welfare. This will help address health disparities by providing patients with clearer information and open communication about their health plan and place a responsibility on health insurers to act in the best interests of its patients. It also gives prescribing authority back to doctors to treat patients as they see fit instead of having treatment options dictated to them through insurance practices

The code of conduct limits health disparities by forcing health plans to be accountable and by allowing doctors to make clinical decisions that are in the best interests of their patients. While many managed care organizations maintain appropriate focus on quality me
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SOURCE Greater Baltimore Urban League; National Black Nurses Association
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