Appeal brings new hearing over surgery center pay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Pulaski County circuit judge has ordered the Arkansas Insurance Department to conduct a new hearing over how three Arkansas surgery centers are paid.

Julia Benafield Bowman was state insurance commissioner in 2008 when she ruled on a case involving payments by insurance companies to the surgery centers.

The ruling allowed insurers to pay the centers less than full-service hospitals for performing the same procedures. Attorney Sam Perroni, an investor in 1 of the surgery centers, appealed. Perroni argued Bowman had a conflict of interest because United HealthCare of Arkansas hired her after she left office.

United HealthCare was among insurers benefiting from Bowman's decision.

Perroni also said the firm bought Bowman meals before and after the ruling.

Information from: Arkansas Business,

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