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Friday, October 14, 2011
New Jersey Psychologists Fight to End Unlawful Practices of Major Health Insurance Plans
The New Jersey Psychological Association
October 13, 2011
NJPA Sues Horizon and Magellan for Violating Patient Privacy and Breaking Contractual Obligations
The New Jersey Psychological Association (NJPA), which represents approximately 2,000 psychologists throughout the state, has filed a lawsuit in conjunction with two patient co-plaintiffs against Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc. and Magellan Health Services. The suit seeks a declaration that Horizon and Magellan have violated patient confidentiality rights and breached the terms of their plan documents by systematically and wrongfully requiring psychologists to disclose confidential patient information to secure authorization for payment for mental health treatment.
The suit alleges that defendants' practices not only contradict the plan documents of the State Health Benefits Plan, the largest insurance plan in the state, but also violate state and federal laws protecting patient privacy. NJPA filed the suit to preserve and protect the rights of its members and its members' patients, who are directly affected by Horizon's and Magellan's actions.
"The skill and support of my psychologist were crucial when I was dealing with a deeply personal and challenging time in my life," said Steven Sargese, a retired law enforcement officer in Essex County and a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit. "Unfortunately, my health plan repeatedly denied the full course of treatment recommended by my psychologist. I'm determined to stand up for people who need mental health services and cannot stand up for themselves."