Aetna medical director admits to denying coverage without looking at patients’ records
Following the release of a court transcript obtained by CNN, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is launching an investigation into whether Aetna had a broad practice of approving or denying insurance claims without looking at a patient’s records. The investigation is tied to the testimony of Dr. Jay Ken Iinuma, who was the medical director for Aetna for Southern California from March 2012 until February 2015. Iinuma stated under oath that he approved or denied claims without patient records as trained by the company, which dictated that nurses make suggestions after reviewing records.
Jones told CNN: “If the health insurer is making decisions to deny coverage without a physician actually ever reviewing medical records, that’s of significant concern to me as insurance commissioner in California — and potentially a violation of law.”
Dr. Anne-Marie Irani, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, was incredulous upon hearing of the story and testimony, according to CNN. Irani is also a former member of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology’s Board of Directors.
The deposition is part of a lawsuit against Aetna brought by Gillen Washington, a college student who suffers from a rare immune disorder which is due to go to trial later this week in California Superior Court. Aetna chose to support Dr. Iinuma, saying in its court papers “Dr. Iinuma’s decision was correct. Plaintiff has asserted throughout this litigation that Dr. Iinuma had no medical basis for his decision that 2011 lab tests were outdated and that Dr. Iinuma’s decision was incorrect. Plaintiff is wrong on both counts.”