Author:Theresa Barta

Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Company
ISBN: 978-1-61254-969-9

Theresa Barta, author of Greed on Trial: Doctors and Patients Unite to Fight Big Insurance is a physician's advocate. Since starting her law practice in 1998 she has represented hundreds of physicians in litigation matters against insurance companies, medical groups, and HMOs. She was one of the first attorneys in California to try a case under the state's anti-retaliation statute and has won many million-dollar verdicts and settlements for her clients. In 2013 she was named Top Gun Trial Lawyer for the year.

The focus of
Greed on Trial is to bring to light how greedy and corrupt health insurance companies, medical groups as well as health management companies mistreat and impede medical doctors from providing the best possible care to their patients.

As Barta points out, it used to be that doctors owned their own medical practices or medical groups, employed their own staff, owned their owned buildings and equipment, and collected the monies due to them from the patients or insurance companies. Today, insurance companies and “management groups” have taken over and, as a result, they seek to increase profitability by cutting costs, limiting coverage of certain treatments, create policies that negatively affect the way patient care is delivered, and pressure doctors to go along with these policies. And in the event doctors push back against these policies, they face the possibility of being blackballed and even fired.

To illustrate these tactics, Barta presents three cases in a story format that are taken from her own experiences as a trial attorney and except for her own name and the name of her husband, all other names and various other identifying characteristics of individuals involved in the cases have been changed. The three cases involve a psychiatrist, a dermatologist and a neurologist. As she states, there is an amazing overlap concerning the three trials- an almost “modular” feeling to the way they unfold wherein certain “chunks” repeat themselves over and over. The behavior of the insurance and health-care companies follow a certain pattern of behavior where you have the company creating cost containment measures involving cutting corners concerning patient care. All three cases show similar tactics and behavior on the part of the defendants where doctor's orders were questioned, delays concerning effecting treatment, excluding certain medications and even forcing the patient to switch medications without giving a valid medical reason. In addition, doctors were discouraged from referring patients to physicians and other providers outside of the health provider's system, which is known as “leakage,” and not good from a business perspective.

Barta's strength, and it is a considerable one, is to detail how rampant are abusive practices in today's world of corporate medicine where we have doctors being treated like “devalued pawns.” And she is right when in her concluding remarks she states that “doctors need our support, not our anger and resentment. The simple fact is that when doctors are mistreated by insurers and employers and 'hobbled' in their medical practices, patients are the ones that ultimately suffer.”