PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — Dr. Jeffrey Nordella of Porter Ranch is the medical David who defeated Goliath – after winning a $4.5 million judgment against Anthem Blue Cross for violation of fair procedures.
Nordella, who had been with the network for 13 years, would often push the company to cover expensive procedures such as MRIs and CAT scans. The company terminated his contract in 2003.
“The conversations became more aggressive to letters and making phone calls and pushing and pushing and pushing until they didn’t want me in the network anymore,” he said.
In 2009, Nordella won a wrongful termination settlement and later filed another lawsuit because Anthem Blue Cross wouldn’t let him back onto its network.
The company issued the following statement to KCAL9:
“Because Dr. Nordella did not have board certification in family medicine, the medical specialty for which he applied to be listed in the network directory, and Anthem had a sufficient number of general practitioners, he was not accepted into our network.”
During the trial, attorneys for Anthem Blue Cross claimed that Nordella was not granted a waiver because there were more than 130 primary care physicians like him in a 10 square mile area.
“It’s my belief they falsified the paperwork as well. There were no general practitioners in porter ranch. None,” he said.
Nordella says he pushes for procedures like MRIs because they can help doctors avoid surgery.
“It doesn’t hurt the patient; it’s wonderful, but now we can’t use it because we don’t want to pay for it. It’s wrong,” he said.
The punitive phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Friday.
Anthem Blue Cross says it’s looking at options to appeal the judgment.