PENNSYLVANIA MEDICAL SOCIETY TO ASK FOR CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT IN ITS EFFORTS TO SEEK RELIEF FROM 'OUTRAGEOUS REFUND DEMANDS'
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Medical Society said today it will ask Pennsylvania's congressional delegation to support its efforts to seek relief from what it termed the "outrageous refund demands" recently sent to many physicians and labs by Pennsylvania Blue Shield. Society President Donald G. Ferguson, MD, said the Society will send letters on Thursday to Pennsylvania's 21 congressmen and two U.S. senators supporting its contention that refund demands for alleged overpayments for certain outpatient clinical laboratory services under the Medicare program "are unfair and exceed Blue Shield's authority." The Society also has contacted the American Medical Association and the federal Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) seeking their assistance. Pennsylvania Blue Shield, the Medicare Part B, carrier for Pennsylvania, last week sent letters to physicians and labs claiming that it had overpaid for certain lipid and thyroid tests during the past three years. Blue Shield admitted that it made the error in establishing the payments. Nevertheless, it is demanding repayment within 30 days or it will "offset" the amount allegedly owed by withholding future payments plus 13.625 percent interest. "We have been in touch with Blue Shield and with HCFA, which oversees the Medicare program, to express our outrage and to request reasonable relief," Ferguson said. "At the same time we are urging our members who may have received one of Blue Shield's letters to call the Society immediately to receive additional information and to learn about their options for responding to the letter," he said. "It's incredible that Blue Shield -- which admits making the error - - has taken such a heavy-handed approach to this situation. In addition to demanding refunds within 30-days and threatening major interest penalties for late payment, physicians are being told they have only 15 days to file objections to the payment offsets," Ferguson said. "In most cases, that means physicians have only until next Tuesday to react to letters that arrived with very little explanatory information over the Labor Day Weekend. I believe any reasonable person would object to such treatment," he said. Ferguson said members of the 21,000-physician organization can reach the Pennsylvania Medical Society for more information by calling 800-228-7823. /delval/ -0- 9/8/93 /CONTACT: Amy Dugan or Ken Robinson of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, 717-558-7750/
CO: Pennsylvania Medical Society; Pennsylvania Blue Shield ST: Pennsylvania IN: MTC SU:
CC-MJ -- PH017 -- 9995 09/08/93 16:48 EDT
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|Date:||Sep 8, 1993|
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