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ACP-ASIM Pressroom

California Internists Release Legislative Report Card

ACP-ASIM Encourages Legislators to Increase Access, Funding

February 6, 2001

(Sacramento, CA): A delegation of California internists have assembled to grade a host of initiatives proposed by the state legislature and governor's office and to lobby for various health care reforms.

"Health care delivery in California is in crisis mode with no respite in sight," said Dr. Jeremiah G. Tilles, president of the California chapter of the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (CA-ACP-ASIM) and chairman of the Health and Public Policy Committee. "With one-quarter of the population lacking basic health insurance, financial pressure is being put on health care providers from all angles."

CA-ACP-ASIM issued its first report card grading the state's progress in 12 areas. Grades ranged from "A" for efforts to prevent the loss of funds from the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to "D-" for allowing health plans to offer rates below the cost of providing services, forcing physicians to subsidize health care costs.

The state fared best on the issue of access for attempts to expand the CHIP programs and, for the first time in 10 years, reforming MediCal. The state also received high marks for Gov. Gray Davis' proposal to use $468 million from the tobacco settlement on health care.

However, California received a "D" for its Elder Abuse Reporting law which leaves physicians criminally responsible for failing to diagnose abuse.

The state also received dismal ratings on most of its managed care reforms including not holding insurers out-of-state medical directors liable for treatment decisions and the high failure rate of California's primary care providers.

"Physicians are responsible for making sure patients receive needed care, unfortunately, the large insurers have found that they can force providers into an all or nothing negotiation which results in capitation rates that they know do not cover the expected costs of medical care for patients," Dr. Tilles said. "This has resulted in California having the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of bankrupt providers in the country."

The report card is being delivered to the state's lawmakers by internists on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Copies are available upon request.

ACP-ASIM represents more than 10,000 doctors of internal medicine in California and 115,000 internists and medical students nationwide.

Kathleen Matikonis, CA-ACP-ASIM executive staff, (415) 751-2742
David Edelson, ACP-ASIM Washington, 202-261-4575

Page updated: 11-04-03

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