WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Despite critics who say patients' bills of rights laws are actually designed to protect health care providers, new research published in the current issue of the American Journal of Medicine found just the opposite.
"There is little evidence these laws have much impact on providers' economic concerns," said Mark Hall, J.D., professor of law and public health at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Hall reviewed managed care patient protection laws in the 48 states that have enacted them and also surveyed state regulators about law content. Commonly known as patients' bills of rights, these laws are aimed at restraining the perceived excesses of managed care, including "gate-keeping," or denying insurance payment for medically necessary treatment and restricting patients' choice of physicians Critics of the laws, however, say they actually provide protection to providers. Hall's research was designed to assess the validity of these claims by evaluating the laws' impacts.