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Health Insurance Exchange Blasted Over Primary Care Access in Massachusetts

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 5, 2010

"In all, only 60 providers were accepting new CeltiCare patients and only 38 could provide service for even one of the three major linguistic minorities," Hertzman-Miller wrote.  In a statement this week, the organization that advocates for a single-payer system, the Physicians for a National Health Program, said Hertzman-Miller's report "raises grave concerns not only about Massachusetts' reform, but also about the recently enacted national reform" that "closely mirrors Massachusetts'." 

Asked for a response, CeltiCare issued statements calling the allegations damaging, and "both false and unfounded," and said it informed Hertzman-Miller about the inaccuracies last March.

In a statement, Robert LoNigro MD, chief medical director for CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts, wrote, "independent and third party research commissioned by CeltiCare in March 2010 demonstrates members have access to care after their transition to the Bridge Program."  He said that CHA's charges are based "on 'research' that was designed to fit the conclusion that they seek to draw."

Health Connector spokesman Richard Powers said the Bridge program "was developed and running in an amazingly short period of time.  We take our oversight responsibilities very seriously and have worked closely with CeltiCare to make certain that every one of its members has a primary care physician, which they do."  However, he acknowledged some initial start-up issues.

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