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HMOs burden emergency care

September 13, 2009

Re: "State to probe insurer denials," Sept. 4:

How can California HMOs possibly justify not paying doctors and hospitals for services classified as "medically necessary"?

If you are wondering why the California emergency care system is failing, this gives you one of your answers. Emergency physicians are required by federal law to take care of everyone regardless of ability to pay. But it is not fair to patients, nor is it ethical, for these HMOs to burden the emergency care system with their obligations.

It is time for the HMOs to step up and take responsibility for their patients.

Dr. Nick Jouriles

President, American College of Emergency Physicians Chagrin Falls, Ohio

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