Not everyone's cup of tea

Sunday, May 31, 2009

HOLLYWOOD, Fla.--Ask provider Bob Lichtenstein whether his payer mix includes managed care contracts, and he’ll tell you, “We don’t touch them.”

Lichtenstein, president of Hollywood Medical Supply, says he likes to provide a certain level of service to his patients, and with managed care contracts, that’s not always possible.

“I’m not saying managed care contracts are good, bad or indifferent,” he said. “I just don’t believe you can offer the same level of service under capitated agreements, and I don’t want to go back on the services I provide.”

Lichtenstein also dislikes how managed care contracts force patients to get equipment and services from one provider or a select group of providers, limiting their choice.

Additionally, Lichtenstein doesn’t feel comfortable putting his company’s fate in the hands of HMOs.

“It’s not uncommon for these contracts to switch back and forth,” he said. “What happens if you have a contract for only one year? You’ve put a tremendous investment in assets and personnel, and you haven’t had the chance to get anywhere near a reasonable return.”