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A medical doctor undergoes years of training to earn the right to a medical opinion. A patient goes to see a doctor confident that the intensive, often grueling training the MD has received provides the necessary experience diagnose and treat what ails. The diagnostic process is a marriage of art and science with a physician analyzing images of the body and a list of reported symptoms to determine a diagnosis. Personal injury lawyers in Cumberland County and across New Jersey believe in the medical diagnostic process, but new legislation could fundamentally how doctors approach patient injuries.
Amendments to New Jersey’s Insurance Fraud Prevention Act want to change, even criminalize, the diagnostic process, and place insurance adjusters in the exam room with patients. Expansion of existing terminology in this new legislation allows insurance companies to accuse medical doctors of providing ‘false statements’ when viewing patient diagnostic reports, including X-rays. The penalties for providing these false statements can include 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
A medical doctor is the only one who should be giving a patient a medical opinion – not an insurance adjuster.
This latest tactic is a perfect example of how insurance companies are seeking to legislate away the rights of consumers. In this case, legislators are seeking to intimidate physicians with the threat of prosecution for simply disagreeing with X-ray images. That should make doctors more willing to comply with the assessments of insurance adjusters, and less willing to stand up for their own rightful medical opinions. This grants sweeping, bullish authority to insurance companies at the expense of consumer rights in the guise of fraud protection.
Insurance companies have a well-established history of denying legitimate claims as a means of preserving profits. Does anyone legitimately believe these billion dollar corporations won’t seek to undermine the opinions of medical doctors with the added strength these proposed amendments grant? They’re at it again, folks, and only your voices can stop them.
Additions to the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act also criminalize physicians who waive co-pays or deductibles for patients who may not be able to afford services. The last thing we should be doing as a people is seeking to reduce access to healthcare. The injured deserve treatment, especially those who’ve sustained life-altering physical damage through no fault of their own. Personal injury lawyers in Woodbridge and other parts of New Jersey are joining together to voice their concerns and stop this terrible legislation – so should you.