UnitedHealth, Nation’s Largest Health Insurer, Now Requiring Pre-Authorization for Certain Types of Hysterectomies Involving Use of Power Morcellators
Southern Med Law, a law firm representing plaintiffs in power morcellator lawsuits, commends UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, for its decision to restrict coverage for uterine morcellation. In doing so, UnitedHealth cited the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent warnings regarding the use of power morcellators in such procedures, which the agency says may spread undetected uterine cancers throughout a woman’s body. According to the new policy, which went into effect this month, UnitedHealth will not cover such surgeries if a physician fails to obtain the necessary preauthorization, and doctors will not be able to directly bill UnitedHealth patients for such procedures.
[money.cnn.com/2015/02/27/news/companies/unitedhealth-hysterectomies/, CNN February 27, 2015]
“UnitedHealth’s new policy will protect millions of women covered by the company from the serious risks potentially associated with uterine morcellation. UnitedHealth is to be commended for taking this issue so seriously, and for working to mitigate this danger for its insureds,” Dr. François Blaudeau, the founder of Southern Med Law. As both an attorney and practicing obstetrician/ gynecologist with a specialization in advanced gynecological surgery, Dr. Blaudeau possesses a unique understanding of the current controversy surrounding power morcellators.
In April 2014, the FDA expressly discouraged surgeons from using power morcellators to perform hysterectomies or fibroid removal surgeries because of their potential to spread undetected cancer cells beyond the uterus. The FDA’s warning pointed out the difficulty in screening for uterine cancers before surgery, and emphasized that their dissemination via a power morcellator can significantly impact a woman’s chances for long-term survival.
[fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm393576.htm, April 17, 2014]
A second alert issued by the FDA in November 2014 advised that the devices should be avoided in the vast majority of women who require a hysterectomy or fibroid removal surgery, including those who are experiencing menopause, about to enter menopause, or those who are good candidates for minimally invasive procedures that don’t require their use.
[fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm424443.htm, November 24, 2014]
Even before the controversy involving uterine morcellation was brought to the public’s attention by the FDA, Southern Med Law has been working to obtain justice for those allegedly harmed by power morcellators. According to court documents, Dr. Blaudeau is currently serving as Plaintiff’s Lead Counsel in the nation’s first morcellator lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania in March 2014. The case, which was brought by the husband of a woman who died from metastatic leiomyosarcoma following a morcellator hysterectomy in 2013, is scheduled to go to trial in November 2015. (Case No. 5:14-cv-1557)
Dr. Blaudeau and the staff at Southern Med Law continue to offer free legal evaluations to those whose cancer was allegedly spread via uterine morcellation. If you or a woman you loved were diagnosed with uterine cancer following such a procedure, please contact Southern Med Law today to learn more about your legal rights. You can arrange for a free, no obligation power morcellator lawsuit review by visiting www.southernmedlaw.com, or by calling the office directly at 205-547-5525.
About Southern Med Law
Southern Med Law is a patient and consumer advocacy organization providing legal representation to the victims of negligent personal injuries, medical malpractice, dangerous drugs, faulty medical devices and defective products. Led by Dr. François Blaudeau, an attorney and a practicing obstetrician/ gynecologist, the legal staff at Southern Med Law possesses a deep understanding of the complex medical and legal questions at issue in all manner of product liability and personal injury claims. They’re not afraid to take on the nation’s largest corporations in their pursuit of justice, and are committed to ensuring that all victims have access to the type of aggressive legal advocacy that assures success.
Southern Med Law
Southern Institute for Medical and Legal Affairs
2224 1st Ave., North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Phone: (205) 547-5525
Fax: (205) 547-5526