The Academy of Allergy & Asthma in Primary Care (AAAPC) and United Allergy Services (UAS) have filed a joint lawsuit against several coalitions of board-certified allergists, including the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (JCAAI), and specific board members and officers within each organization.
According to a news announcement by the AAAPC, the lawsuit, which is pending in federal district court in San Antonio, alleges that the defendants have engaged in anti-competitive practices, such as encouraging insurance companies and managed care organizations to deny or limit reimbursement to physicians who are not board-certified allergists, including physicians whose practices are supported by UAS.
What’s more, the complaint claims that the individual defendants, all board-certified allergists, have also sought to restrict patient self-administration of allergy shots, thereby allowing allergists to charge patients and insurance companies for office visits, copays and shots as often as three times a week, according to the AAAPC.
“Allergy care is critical for millions of Americans. Too often patients are suffering from allergy symptoms because they do not have access to adequate care. Lack of care can lead to asthma attacks and emergency room visits creating a preventable burden on the healthcare environment. Allergist and family physicians need to work together to ensure appropriate care for all allergy sufferers,” said Jeff Bullard, MD, President of AAAPC and a UAS physician partner.
“As a board-certified family care physician, allergy services are within the scope of my practice and are a valued service for my patients. By treating seasonal and perennial allergy patients in the primary care setting, allergists can be freed up to care for patients, such as those with potentially fatal food allergies that absolutely require specialized care,” he adds.