March 1996 AAOS Report

Managed care plans with gag clauses denounced by AMA

The American Medical Association (AMA) has called for all managed care plans to immediately cancel gag clauses and is requesting that physicians with contracts containing gag clauses submit them to the AMA legal staff for ethical review. Orthopaedic surgeons are urged to review their managed care contracts for any such gag clauses that contain language that might prevent them from openly communicating with patients. The AMA is emphasizing that physicians have an ethical duty to provide full informed consent despite any plan's contractual limitation in coverage. The AMA also stresses that it is unethical for physicians to fail to disclose treatment options that will materially benefit patients. Orthopaedic surgeons with contracts that include gag clauses can contact the following individuals at the AMA's legislative and health law department, Kelly Kenny, (312) 464-4976 or Carol O'Brien, (312) 464-4367.

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