Judge Recuses Himself From Suit Against UnitedHealth, Calling Insurer’s Coverage Denials ‘Immoral And Barbaric’
The lawsuit has to do with a treatment called proton beam therapy, which UnitedHealth declined to cover on the grounds that it is unproven and experimental. U.S. District Judge Robert Scola, who has personal experience with cancer treatments, derided this stance. "It is undisputed among legitimate medical experts that proton radiation therapy is not experimental and causes much less collateral damage than traditional radiation," Scola wrote.
Judge Recuses Himself From UnitedHealthcare Proton Therapy Lawsuits
At least two lawsuits have been filed against UnitedHealthcare in the last two months alleging the insurance company improperly denied patients coverage for a certain type of cancer treatment that insurers have long been reluctant to pay for. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola recused himself from deciding one of the lawsuits filed this month in Miami because of personal experience with the cancer treatment, writing in an order of recusal that denying a patient the treatment "is immoral and barbaric." (Livinggston, 4/29)
In other health industry news —
Academic Medical Centers Face Identity Overhaul
As price becomes an increasingly important factor in where people seek care, many academic medical centers will have to transform their high-cost structures to remain viable, according to new research. Half of 1,250 consumers surveyed said they would not pay more for specialty medical care at an academic medical center, PricewaterhouseCooper's Health Research Institute found. Many academic institutions recognize that the status quo is unsustainable and are merging or affiliating with other providers to better manage lower-acuity care. (Kacik, 4/29)