CT Physicians, UnitedHealth Head to Mediation

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media , January 23, 2014

The committee heard from AHIP officials, a Medicare beneficiary, and Michael Saffir, MD, president of the Connecticut State Medical Society and a practicing physician who UnitedHealth cut from its MA network.

According to Saffir's testimony, "…United[Health] patients have received letters saying that they can switch to another doctor for their care, but when patients call this doctor's office, they are told that they can't be seen, or that they will have to wait weeks or even months for an appointment."

One of Saffir's patients, Richard Johnson, a retiree from Bridgeport, echoed Saffir's concerns, telling the committee he didn't understand why he couldn't see Saffir, who gave him "excellent care" for three years.

Because of the pending court case, UnitedHealth can't technically cut ties with Saffir just yet, but that message hasn't been made clear to beneficiaries like Johnson, who just wants to keep seeing his doctor.

"When you have health problems, you want to stay with the doctors who knows you personally and takes excellent care of you," said Johnson.

Jacqueline Fellows is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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