Large practice, WellPoint in dispute

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 26, 2007

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American Health Networks, a 200-physician practice with 70 offices in central Indiana and central Ohio, say its Kokomo and Russiaville, Ind., locations, about 10 miles apart, no longer will take new patients insured by WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana.

American Health Networks president Ben Park, MD, said the decision came after Anthem absorbed the HMO membership of another insurer, M Plan. Dr. Park said if those locations took on the M Plan members, they would be reliant on Anthem for about 60% of their commercial insurance business. Dr. Park said that isn't feasible with Anthem cutting reimbursement by 4% over the last two years.

Anthem spokesman Tony Felts said the company's reimbursement is fair and that it expects the practice to honor its contracted commitment to provide medical services to Anthem members. But Anthem did not disclose any reprisals it might carry out against the practice if it continued with its current strategy.

Among American Health Networks' physicians is American Medical Association Board of Trustees Chair Edward L. Langston, MD, a family physician in Lafayette, Ind. Dr. Langston is on leave during his tenure as AMA chair and is not involved in the current dispute, Dr. Park said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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