The Associated Press
A consumer group has filed a petition to get access to records from arbitration hearings between health plans and patients.
The state Department of Managed Health Care has 30 days to decide if it wants to expand regulations for health maintenance organizations to make the records public.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights and the Health Administration Responsibility Project say that about 24 million state residents must resolve health care disagreements through arbitration.
Having access to arbitration proceedings will give patients an edge in negotiations with their HMOs, the groups said after filing the petition Tuesday.
The California Association of Health Plans says disclosing arbitration documents raises privacy concerns and could make settlements more difficult.