MANAGED CARE December 1999. ©1999 MediMedia USA
As expected, the Department of Health and Human Services promulgated privacy regulations after Congress failed to do so itself. The regulations, which apply to providers, plans, and billing companies, restrict the release of information without patient consent and impose fines of up to $50,000 per violation. The regulations do not supersede any state laws that are more stringent. Congress is expected to debate broader privacy rules in February.... Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee has threatened to drop out of TennCare, the state's Medicaid managed care program, unless the structure of the program is changed soon. The Blues want the state to absorb losses and to place limits on the program's pharmacy benefit. Loss of the Blues would mean the end of TennCare, officials say.... Transparency or identity crisis? According to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 54 percent of HMO enrollees say they've never been in a managed care plan.