ACA's Legal Efforts Against ACN Continue
Despite Adverse Ruling in Similar Class Action
(Arlington, Va. - June 21, 2006)
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) continues to aggressively challenge the practices of ACN Group Inc. on multiple fronts and remains optimistic that the chiropractic profession can find relief from the managed care organization's tactics, despite an adverse ruling Monday in a similar federal class action suit against UnitedHealthcare, a sister company of ACN.
On June 19, a federal judge in Miami dismissed a national class action lawsuit brought against UnitedHealthcare and Coventry Health by 700,000 medical doctors who claimed the insurers had conspired to arbitrarily deny or reduce claims. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno dismissed the lawsuit, known as the Shane case, due to "insufficient evidence" that the carriers conspired to deny claims in a coordinated manner. While the ACA is disappointed in this decision -- because the ruling could set a precedent and portend an adverse judgment in the Solomon case -- legal experts point out that the two cases are different and the possibility of prevailing still exists.
In the Shane decision, Judge Moreno wrote that he did not condone the insurers' practices, but he simply could not find enough evidence of a conspiracy after reviewing thousands of documents. According to ACA's legal team, the evidence ACA has compiled against ACN, which is not a party in the Shane case, is substantial and the court that made the decision in the Shane case has yet to review it.
In addition, legal action is just one track in ACA's multi-pronged strategy against ACN. In addition to filing this national class action, ACA -- in cooperation with several state chiropractic associations -- is actively engaged with a number of state attorneys general, offices of insurance and boards of licensure, and the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) regarding the tactics undertaken by ACN. According to ACA officials, these state attorneys general and state offices of insurance are reviewing the practices of ACN and other chiropractic managed care organizations and some are launching their own investigations.
"The federal court's action is clearly disappointing,” said ACA President Richard Brassard, DC. “But I want to stress to the profession -- and especially to the doctors currently suffering under ACN policies -- that the ACA will exhaust every legal, administrative and political means to redress these problems. The ACA was created to fight for our patients and for chiropractic. We now have a fight of monumental proportions on our hands. We are confident we can prevail with the remedies available to us with the support of all in the profession."
To augment ACA’s legal efforts, individual doctors of chiropractic and chiropractic state associations are being asked to take action by filing complaints with state regulatory agencies. Doctors are also encouraged to use the ERISA pre-service template letters, found in ACA Chiropractic Networks Action Center at www.acatoday.org/networks, to notify patients’ employers that the benefit they purchased for the employee is not accessible when medically necessary treatment is denied.
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