Aug 9, 2015 9:13 AM
Manchester doctor sues insurer, says company told patients he retired
MANCHESTER — A doctor is suing Anthem for defamation, blaming the insurer for a drop in business after one patient told him the company had said he was retired.
Dr. William Kirmes of Manchester Osteopathic Consultants told the Union Leader he's down to about two or three patients a day, about a quarter of his normal patient load.
Kirmes had changed his practice to a cash-only model and stopped submitting patient bills to insurance companies, including Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Hampshire. He expected some impact to his practice as a result.
But he said business dropped precipitously, and he didn't understand why until a patient told him that an Anthem worker had said he had gone out of business.
Anthem said it would not comment on the matter given the pending litigation.
According to Kirmes lawsuit, long-time patients made four telephone calls to Anthem in early March. All four were told the office was closed.
The lawsuit claims Anthem made untrue statements that hurt Kirmes's reputation. It asks for general damages, special damages, actual damages and liberal compensation damages.
Kirmes said Anthem still covers his patients. He is an out-of-network provider, and his patients just have to submit the bills themselves.