"Any Willing Provider" Law in Effect, Patients Benefit

September 22, 2004 – Posted at 4:39 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR -- The Patient Protection Act is allowing patients the right to choose hospitals and physicians without penalty. The law, commonly known as Any Willing Provider, went into effect August 12, 2005.
“The Protect Act basically removes any type of anti competitive barriers that were previously in place,” said NEA Clinic CEO Jim Boswell, “That restricted patients ability to make that choice without penalty.”
And for patients, it's a win-win situation.
“We've seen that services have been enhanced when competition is present. We think the same dynamics will happen in health care. More competition among the health care providers will equate to better quality, better access and just better overall product,” said NEA Clinic Director of Business Development Mark Carpenter.
Arkansas first adopted the law in 1995, but a court challenge has held it up for nearly a decade.
“We believe whole heartedly in the Patient Protection Act. We believe that patients should have the right to make those choices themselves. They should make those choices on quality, service and value and cost,” said Boswell.
The law allows all qualified doctors and hospitals access to patients without restriction by an insurance company.
“We see this as a positive move forward to get patients unrestricted choice and access to physicians and hospitals they wish to seek care from,” said Carpenter.
To find out if this act applies to you, check with your employer or your insurance provider.
The law was upheld by the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.