Council gives initial OK to HMO diversity bill

March 26, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore City Council yesterday gave preliminary approval to a bill that would force health maintenance organizations to accept more black doctors into citywide health care plans.

During a council hearing in November, black city physicians and dentists charged that HMOs routinely discriminate against them. HMO officials denied the allegations.

City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III, who sponsored the legislation, said HMOs do not have a diverse enough professional staff and that city workers wanted more choices.

He said HMOs "should reflect the racial diversity of the city, taking into account the number of African-American health professionals that you can draw from."

Though the bill does not set quotas, Mr. Bell said that it "forces these companies to show us how diverse" they are.

The legislation is expected to be approved next week because all 19 council members have attached their names to it.

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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