The Medical Group Management Association, Englewood, Colo., has received tacit approval from the Federal Trade Commission to survey doctors about their financial relationships with insurers, including costs and claims denials. The association, whose members primarily represent administrators in group practices across the nation, will limit the first survey to Colorado family practice physicians, internists, pediatricians and obstetrician-gynecologists. Subsequent surveys may include other states and additional specialties. Dan Stech, MGMA's director of survey operations, said the plan evolved from an awareness that MGMA members "wanted a better understanding of what they should be getting paid for the services that their physicians provide." Stech said the association satisfied the FTC's concerns about antitrust issues by promising to withhold the names of individual insurers and publish only aggregate payment information that is at least 90 days old. MGMA's proposal "does not appear to be intended, or inherently likely, to promote express anticompetitive agreements or tacit coordinated behaviors among physicians in their contracting practices," an FTC official said in a Nov. 3 advisory opinion for the association. The MGMA plans to collect the data in January 2004 and publish the results by May. Read the opinion. -- by Michael Romano
MGMA plan to survey doctors clears FTC review
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