I have received two calls recently from individuals who are sympathetic to the cause of free markets in health care and what we are doing about it.  These two callers both registered concern about the “gag clauses” in certain PPO and HMO contracts, clauses that proscribe certain conversations between physicians and patients, whether treatment options not “covered” by the plan are available, for instance. 

These “gag clauses” first appeared when physicians began openly criticizing the HMO’s in front of patients for their denial of care strategy.  My exposure to PPO’s is so limited that I can’t comment any further, let alone provide a copy of a PPO contract containing one of these clauses.  I agreed to write this blog in the hope that someone who could better address this issue would come forward. 

My email address is on the surgery center’s website and I look forward to hearing from some of you and learning more about this.  I was assured that requests for anonymity would be honored.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.