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Fairfield County Doctors Host Meeting To Protest Health Care Changes

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WESTPORT, Conn. -- In the wake of UnitedHealthcare's decision to drop many physicians from its plan, the Fairfield County Medical Association will hold a town hall-style meeting Saturday morning.

The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Westport Town Hall's auditorium, 110 Myrtle Ave.

The Fairfield County Medical Association and the Hartford County Medical Association have jointly filed a federal court lawsuit challenging UnitedHealthcare’s termination of many physicians as participating providers in United’s Medicare Advantage Networks. These terminations are due to take effect in February.

According to the lawsuit, the terminations violate Medicare regulations and are in breach of UHC’s agreements with its physician members.

The lawsuit says that UHC’s actions have “a significant adverse impact not only on the terminated physicians, but on their longstanding elderly and disabled patients, who must now either find new physicians (including traveling farther distances to find a participating MA provider), switch plans to continue treatment with the terminated physician, or incur significant additional out-of-pocket costs to continue treatment with an ‘out-of-network’ provider.”

The lawsuit further notes that “patients may be forced to change and to reluctantly go elsewhere for medical care, which is particularly difficult for the elderly and/or disabled,” said a statement from the group.

“UnitedHealthcare’s plan will mean the termination of more than 2,220 physicians statewide, that’s almost 20 percent of its entire network and that it turn would have an adverse impact on the delivery of medical care to patients,” says Dr. Robin Oshman, president of the Fairfield County Medical Association.

“As two large organizations representing physicians across the state of Connecticut, we cannot sit back and let this happen, to our doctors, or to our patients, especially when UnitedHealthcare said that this has nothing to do with the quality of physicians terminated, and in our opinion is all about profits,” said Dr. Bollepalli Subbarao, president of the Hartford County Medical Association.

Both groups are seeking a court declaration that UHC’s attempted terminations are illegal, as well as an injunction preventing UHC from terminating any of the associations’ physician members.

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