Aetna, Hartford, Conn., followed through this week on its promise to create a physician advisory committee, naming nine practicing doctors to a panel aimed at providing advice to the insurer on physician-related issues. The advisory council, which is scheduled to meet at least twice during 2004, is one part of a sweeping, $470 million settlement of a lawsuit charging that the giant insurer routinely shortchanged physicians. The October settlement, which involved about 950,000 physicians, included approximately $100 million in direct payments, $50 million in legal fees and $20 million to create a foundation to address key health concerns. "Aetna's goal is to enhance our relationship with doctors by creating a productive dialogue and increasing transparency with regard to our business practices," said John Rowe, a physician who is chairman and CEO of Aetna. The chairman of the advisory committee will be an Aetna employee -- William Popik, a physician who is the company's senior vice president and chief medical officer. He said his goal "as chairman of the advisory committee is to focus on continuously improving the way in which Aetna impacts a physician's practice and interaction with patients on a day-to-day basis." -- by Michael Romano
Aetna names docs to advisory panel
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