Debate over choice in doctors takes a new twist in radio ad - KOAM TV 7

Debate over choice in doctors takes a new twist in a 4-States radio ad


A Joplin physician is fighting to stay in the Freeman PHO, or Physician Hospital Organization, the link between doctors and insurance companies.

Now the doctor is asking patients to keep her connected.

Dr. Renee Walker works at both Freeman at St. Johns and had been in both physicians groups.

But she has been dropped from the Freeman Health System PHO and has taken her case to the airwaves.

"It's time for me to ask for your help," Dr. Walker says in the ad.  "Please call Gary Duncan, CEO of Freeman Health System."

Dr. Walker is an ear, nose and throat doctor, certified in pediatric care.

She has more than 11,000 patients but says half of them will become out of network in January when she is dropped from the PHO.

She says that is unfair to the patients who want to continue their care with her.

Besides asking patients to appeal the decision, she says the law is on her side.

"The State of Missouri has a statute that states a physician must have a hearing if they're going to be dropped from any type of health insurance plans we've requested that type of hearing and none's been granted," says Renee Walker, D.O., pediatric otolaryngologist.

Freeman officials would not comment on camera saying only in a statement that the PHO structure is confidential.

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