1) Depuy hired Broadspire (their claims agent to):
- gain control of patient medical records to be used against them in court.
- distance themselves from patients
- take the control of the case out of the hands of the patent's physician.
- make patient files available to Depuy and persuade patients to give up their privacy rights
4) Depuy is trying to settle claims directly with the patients before the patient fully understands their legal rights or the likely hip related medical costs in the future.
My perspective (for whatever its worth):
1) It is perfectly reasonable that a company like Depuy, or any company for that matter might want to outsource claims. Depuy is not in the claims business. I am unsure as to why any company would want to undertake a business which is outside of their core competency, in this case, producing medical devices. It is too cost prohibitive to stray from what you know best. Companies should stick to their core competencies and outsource to others what they do best. There should be nothing unusual about that. it makes good business sense to do it.
2) Outsourcing insurance claims has been around for many years. It is a large market with numerous players in it. Depuy is not the first company to have done this.
3) Broadspire has done a great job with the claims that I have been involved with. I would say I have personally dealt with my agent on about 10 occasions and have nothing but great things to say about them. Frankly, I would rather deal with them than with my own insurance company. I have said that before. I have found them to be nothing less than completely cooperative. Perhaps when I talk with them about the surgery, the process will be much more problematic. I will let you know.
4) If people think that paying a surgeon $50 per case to deal with that paper work is going to unduly incentivize a surgeon to do something unethical or inappropriate, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you. I will guess that compensation for orthopedic surgeons might range from $350K to $500K and up. $50 per case means nothing to them. I doubt whether that would cover the costs of dealing with those records. It is just folly to contemplate a payment of this size influencing anyone let alone an orthopedic surgeon to act inappropriately. Who needs that hassle?
5) Any patient can decline to sign a release form for medical records. I did. The only implication of doing that is my surgeon needs to come to me to send anyone any information from my file. I remain the decision maker, no one else.
6) If you are seeking assistance from a company of mine for reimbursement, I would want to be able to verify your claim before I pay you anything. What is the issue with that? What business would send out a check without evidence that a problem occurred with their product?
7) Patients are not stupid. If Depuy approaches someone with a settlement, how many people do you think would sign a release statement without checking with an attorney? 1 of 10? If someone figured out how to find the right physician to remove their hip, they are likely to seek out the help of an attorney before settling a case with Depuy.
8) I can think of no physician who would cooperate with a company (any company) in a conspiracy plot against the patient to give up their rights. I can imagine a situation where a physician would encourage cooperation with a manufacturer to provide feedback to them on what went wrong. Do you know of any physician who would actively try to deceive their patient out of their rights? I don't.
Remember how the Insight story closed which I posted yesterday?
My rants for what their worth. I wish we could concentrate on the real issues.