Local News in Brief : State Health Dept. Sued

A lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists seeking to force the state Department of Health Services to halt allegedly unlawful practices used by state auditors to recover "overpayments" of Medi-Cal dollars to physicians throughout the state.

Union spokesman Joseph Bader accused state auditors of unfairly harassing physicians who are reimbursed through the state's Medi-Cal program for providing medical services to the poor.

As a result, he said, many physicians and dentists have been "discouraged and deterred" from treating poor patients. Fewer than 2,000 of the state's 50,000 physicians now treat the majority of Medi-Cal patients, Bader said.

A state Health Department spokesman declined comment on the Superior Court suit.

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