U.S. District Court Judge Federico Moreno of the Southern District of Florida preliminarily approved the settlement agreement announced last week between Aetna and the plaintiffs representing over 700,000 physicians, state and other medical societies.
The ruling by Judge Moreno conditionally certifies a class for settlement of physicians who provided services to Aetna or any of the other defendants, allows notice to be sent out to class members informing them of the agreement and schedules a fairness hearing for Oct. 13, whereby Judge Moreno will consider whether to finally approve the settlement presented by the plaintiffs and Aetna.
In reaction to the decision by Judge Moreno, Tim Norbeck, executive director of the Connecticut State Medical Society, noted, “This country’s patients and physicians alike should hail Judge Federico Moreno for his approval of the Aetna settlement with 700,000 medical doctors on terms that will favor their patients’ actual medical care over the intrusive technicalities and oppressive minutiae that have long plagued managed care systems.”
Medical Society of the State of New York president Jeffrey Ribner, also expressed his satisfaction with the Court’s ruling, adding, “A number of critical issues addressed in the initial suit will now be rectified. We are hopeful that the settlement will send a clear message to the managed care industry that there is no advantage to impeding the relationship between physicians and patients by taking issue with sound clinical decisions. It is also heartening that the settlement will assure the availability to physicians of increased information on billing codes and will assure that physicians are consulted on claims-payment issues as well and the commitment for the timely processing of claims.”
The agreement has been endorsed by 19 state and county medical societies.
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