Interesting Development

The AMA News reports (subscription required) on a United Healthcare policy to be implemented tomorrow that will “fine” network doctors $50 or more whenever they fail to refer patients to United’s exclusive network laboratory, Labcorp. According to the AMA News,

“United’s decision to penalize doctors has its roots in a deal the plan executed as of Jan. 1. On that date, it began a 10-year agreement with Laboratory Corp. of America that made the Burlington, N.C.-based company United’s exclusive national supplier of lab services. Left out is the company with which LabCorp is fighting for the largest share of the $40 billion clinical lab market — Lyndhurst, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics.

Needless to say the medical community is not pleased with this decision and for example the Connecticut State Medical Society is soliciting the State Attorney General’s assistance.