Don't work with health plans that won't pay physicians a fair fee

LETTER — Posted Aug. 2, 2010

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I have been a practicing medical oncologist and AMA member for more than 30 years. Like my medical colleagues, I have witnessed and adjusted to significant changes in the practice of medicine.

Most distressing has been the devaluation of physician services. The result of these changes and devaluation is that physicians no longer determine their fees and are expected to accept remuneration from insurance companies according to fee schedules that fail to reflect the value of our professional care and the risks and responsibilities currently associated with the practice of medicine.

As a profession, we have relinquished our ability to chart our own futures. To a certain extent, we have allowed ourselves to become indentured servants to the insurance industry. Antitrust laws prevent us from collectively negotiating our fee schedules while the government has allowed the insurance companies to behave like monopolies.

The AMA, and organized medicine in general, should strongly suggest to member and nonmember physicians to consider not participating in insurance plans that do not adopt fair and reasonable fee schedules.

David W. Greenwald, MD, Kingston, Pa.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/08/02/edlt0802.htm.

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