Doctors Stand Firm After Rebukes in Flap Over Massachusetts Rules

Associated Press

Despite blasts from lawmakers, the head of the Massachusetts Medical Society was unrepentant Wednesday about advising other doctors to avoid Massachusetts because of its rigorous regulations.

“They must remember . . . that the anger of the physicians is based on the fact that the practice of medicine in Massachusetts is more overregulated than it is in any other state in the union,” said Dr. J. J. Siragusa, a West Springfield gynecologist and president of the 13,500-member society.

Legislators took the society to task Tuesday for writing medical societies in other states that Massachusetts is “an undesirable location in which to practice.”


One legislator said the warnings amounted to blackmail against Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

“It certainly won’t serve them well with the public that they are sworn to serve and certainly will not be received in a positive fashion by members of the Legislature,” said Democratic state Rep. John C. McNeil.

Involves Medicare Payments

Dukakis’ administration played a role in legislation requiring doctors to accept Medicare reimbursements as full payment, among other restrictions.

McNeil, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Health Care Committee, contended the doctors were “looking to use other states to intimidate the governor.”

His counterpart in the state Senate, Democrat Edward L. Burke, said the state’s regulations came about because of complaints from “an awful lot of disgruntled patients.”

Burke said the society “tends to put pocketbook issues ahead of social issues. That’s human nature. I don’t necessarily question that, but when they lead with the chin like this they invite a certain response.”