AIDS Healthcare Foundation Drops Lawsuit Against PacifiCare of California
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has dropped its lawsuit against PacifiCare of California, stating that the suit has become "moot" now that the state is enforcing patients' rights legislation that guarantees access to HIV/AIDS specialists, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 9/17). In August 2001, AHF filed a lawsuit against PacifiCare, charging that the insurer had violated state law by not providing "standing referrals" to people with HIV enrolled in its HMO plans. The law, which was signed by Gov. Gray Davis (D) in September 2000, requires California HMOs to ensure that patients with HIV or AIDS receive referrals to doctors who specialize in HIV/AIDS treatment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/14/01). In January, Davis amended the law to ensure that HMOs were providing referrals to "qualified" HIV/AIDS specialists and not doctors who had never dealt with the disease (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/7). Ged Kenslea, a spokesperson for AHF, said that the state is now enforcing the law through the state Department of Managed Health Care, adding, "Now an enforcement mechanism is in place so we're in the position to wait but still watch PacifiCare's actions" (Associated Press, 9/17). The AHF suit is being dismissed "without prejudice," leaving the group the option to re-file the case if it chooses to do so (AHF release, 9/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.