Firm must pay doctors over medical liability insurance arrangement

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 15, 2006

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Connecticut-based health care management company Women's Health USA was ordered to pay $198,000 to a physician group for improperly accepting rebates from insurers and a broker in exchange for those companies keeping the doctors' business.

A state law bans the practice.

WHUSA, handles medical liability insurance for Physicians for Women's Health LLC, an ob-gyn group with about 150 doctors in 25 practice groups in Connecticut.

WHUSA used the discounts to pay for risk management services it provided to PWH instead rebating the doctors directly, which Attorney General Richard Blumenthal contends is in violation of the law.

"Hidden rebates are particularly damaging in the medical malpractice arena where the crippling cost of insurance has reportedly forced some smaller ob-gyn practitioners to give up their practice," he said.

WHUSA did not admit to any wrongdoing under the agreement, and the attorney general didn't file a formal complaint. "At worst, this was an unintentional technical violation of an ambiguous statute," WHUSA CEO Robert Patricelli said.

Richard S. Ruben, MD, president of PWH said the doctors asked WHUSA to seek the discounts from its insurers on their behalf and received the risk management services promised by WHUSA.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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