Don Bradley: Unfair billing must end

December 19, 2012 

Unfair billing must end

Regarding a recent letter, I suggest that the recent Department of Insurance ruling in support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C.’s position should have sent a clear signal to the medical society that it is on the wrong side of this billing issue.

Simply put, it is unfair and wasteful to charge twice for services and items provided only once.

The letter suggested that BCBSNC is not upholding the law. In fact, the legal ruling from DOI emphasizes that BCBSNC reimbursement policy changes do follow the law. The DOI determined that insurers can make reasonable changes to reimbursement policies without renegotiating entire contracts. Insurer changes in reimbursement policies are frequently in response to changes in provider billing practices.

This ruling by the DOI hearing officer stated that the position advocated by the letter would substantially increase the cost of health care to both consumers and businesses throughout North Carolina.

We agree that the doctor-patient relationship is critical to quality care. But when doctors and hospitals are unfairly billing our customers, we will not stand by.

Across the state, many doctors and hospitals have joined with us to eliminate waste in the health care system and find ways to deliver high-quality care more efficiently. These are the types of relationships that will build a better health care system for the people of North Carolina.

We stand ready to work with the N.C. Medical Society and the N.C. Hospital Association on even broader collaborations. They simply need to stop defending their unfair billing practices and come to the table.

Dr. Don Bradley

Chief Medical Officer, BCBSNC, Durham

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