James Hinsdale, M.D., president of the California Medical Association, issued the following statement today in response to fines imposed by the Department of Managed Health Care against the state's seven largest health plans for improper payment of provider claims:

"California's physicians support the Department of Managed Health Care's attempt to hold insurers accountable to the law. These fines, however, are chump change that amount to little more than a slap on the wrist for highly profitable health plans that systematically deny legitimate claims and routinely block, delay or limit physician reimbursements as one tactic to boost their bottom lines.

"Our members are especially concerned about solo physician practitioners and specialists, who are significantly impacted by these illegal practices.

"Every battle over a claim hurts access to care by taking a physician's time away from treating patients. Unpaid claims also cause patients immense stress that can undermine their recovery. It's crucial that DMHC and other regulators remain vigilant and force insurers to follow the law so that doctors can focus on patient care."

California Medical Association