Consumers want right to sue

July 1, 1998

Pharmaceutical Representative

The majority of Americans want to hold their managed care health plans legally accountable, according to the results of a recent public opinion poll released by the American Psycho-logical Association, Washington.

The majority of Americans want to hold their managed care health plans legally accountable, according to the results of a recent public opinion poll released by the American Psycho-logical Association, Washington.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans support changing federal law to allow patients to sue a managed care company if they are injured by negligent decisions or cost-containment actions.

Nearly 75% of those polled said they would be less likely to choose to enroll in a managed care plan if they knew the plan could not be held legally responsible for errors in making treatment decisions.

Currently, the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act prohibits many plan members from suing their health plans if they are injured as a result of a managed care plan's decision to delay treatment or deny procedures recommended by a physician.

Pending legislation introduced by Representative Charlie Norwood (R-GA) and Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) gained favorable response from those polled. The legislation - the Patient Access to Responsible Care Act - would mandate legal accountability for all managed care health plans, ensure access to specialists and emergency services without prior authorization and permit access to providers outside of a plan without additional cost. PR

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