A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the California Medical Association that sought to block a physician rating program by Blue Shield of California.
Judge tosses Calif. doc-ratings suit
Blue Shield of California, a not-for-profit insurer based in San Francisco, started its Blue Ribbon Recognition Program in 2010. The program recognizes physicians by awarding them a "blue ribbon" icon next to their name on the insurer's website.
The California Medical Association asserted in the lawsuit that because the information is based on selective data, it doesn't accurately describe the quality of care physicians provide and that the blue ribbons are awarded only to lower-cost physicians. The data is developed and compiled by the California Physician Performance Initiative, a healthcare program of the Pacific Business Group on Health, an employer coalition.
But Alameda County, Calif., Superior Court Judge Steven Brick dismissed the CMA's claims, agreeing with the insurer that the program is a protected form of speech that benefits consumers. Brick also wrote in his order that the plaintiffs did not provide evidence of physicians being harmed or having lost business because of the program.
In a statement, the insurer called the ruling "a validation that Blue Shield has every right to recognize high performing physicians."
The California Medical Association could not be immediately reached for comment.
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