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State Regulators Crack Down on Blue Cross


State regulators have ordered Blue Cross of California to stop using a tactic doctors and hospitals say is heavy-handed. Blue Cross has required providers to sign a confidentiality agreement before entering negotiations with the company. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

Blue Cross introduced the requirement earlier this year. The company says it protects confidential information and prevents providers from sharing Blue Cross data with others. But state regulators disagree, and the call it an unfair and unlawful business practice.  Dr. Ted Maser is an ear, nose, and throat specialist in San Diego.

This is part of what physicians have complained about for a long time. This is a very heavy-handed, one-sided contractual arrangement, by a behemoth in the state of California that most doctors can't afford not to participate with."

State regulators say Blue Cross had threatened not to send patients to doctors who refused to sign the agreement. The order bars the company from continuing the practice.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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