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Aetna Rewrites Doctor Contracts; AMA Not Swayed

MANAGED CARE December 1998. © MediMedia USA
News and Commentary

Aetna Rewrites Doctor Contracts; AMA Not Swayed

MANAGED CARE December 1998. ©1998 Stezzi Communications

Though claiming it never imposed gag rules on physicians, Aetna U.S. Healthcare has moved to rewrite its physician contracts to remove ambiguities that the AMA says effectively constituted "gags."

Aetna has sparred with physicians in several states over contract language, prompting numerous physician groups to leave the HMO. Earlier this year, Aetna and the AMA had a nasty public dispute about provisions in Florida doctors' contracts, which the AMA said included gag clauses and what it called take-it-or-leave-it terms.

But the AMA said the insurer's gag-rule concession does not go far enough. In a statement, the AMA decried contract terms it said allows Aetna to change contracts without notice and the take-it-or-leave-it provisions.