AAEM has joined the California Medical Association (CMA) in filing an amicus curiae brief in a lawsuit brought by Affiliated Catholic Healthcare Physicians (ACHP) against Emergency Physician Medical Group (EPMG) and Meriten Physician Management Company. The brief alleges that the activities resulting from a merger between Meriten and EPMG violate the corporate practice of medicine bar and laws prohibiting fee-splitting arrangements.
In a letter to Arthur Wong, MD, Meriten president and CEO, the CMA clearly defends the importance of their action. “The corporate practice of medicine bar serves as a vital protection for physicians and their patients in this state,” the letter reads, “and CMA cannot risk jeopardizing it under any circumstances. It is because of CMA’s unwavering insistence that the bar be protected that CMA’s Board made the decision to file in the ACHP case.” The letter also states, “We believe that CMA’s activity vis-a-vis the corporate practice of medicine bar benefits all of its members and their patients, and that any involvement in this particular lawsuit would only serve as a protection against inappropriate lay control of the practice of medicine.”
AAEM agrees with the stance taken by the CMA and has joined them in their fight against the corporate practice of Emergency Medicine. California and many other states have laws which are designed to prevent organizations comprised of laypersons from employing physicians. In many cases, these illegal arrangements lead directly to the fraud and abuse rampant in our specialty, as physician-generated fees are taken hostage by the needs of the shareholders.
Read the full amicus curiae brief.