Jeffrey Nordella, MD

Jeffrey Nordella, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Nordella, an urgent care and family-practice doctor from Porter Ranch, who last week reached a confidential settlement after being awarded $3.8 million in compensatory damages from insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross, hopes the verdict will encourage more doctors to fight for patient-doctor relationships.

A 12-person panel ruled last week that Anthem had improperly barred Nordella from the insurer’s preferred-provider network in 2010. Nordella testified in Los Angeles County Superior Court that Anthem, part of Wellpoint Inc., had retaliated against him for his longtime advocacy on behalf of patients.

“This verdict should hopefully help other physicians and patients,” Nordella said in an interview with PNN. “I would love to see this as a cornerstone for other physicians to come forward to re-establish the doctor-patient relationship and remove the third-party health insurance from impeding it.”

A spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross reportedly said that the firm had agreed to confidentially resolve any and all disputes between them.

A jury awarded Nordella $3.8 million for lost earnings and other income, because the exclusion limited how many patients he could see as medical director of Porter Ranch Quality Care, a walk-in clinic.

Nordella said he couldn’t discuss details of the settlement agreement, but he said that with so many millions of Americans becoming insured under healthcare reform and not enough primary care doctors to serve them, it’s critical that more doctors take a stance.

“We need more physicians out there treating patients,” he said. “Let’s get to work and change the healthcare system the best way we can—some doctors are part of the problem, because they won’t come forward. Hopefully this verdict will show that a little guy can stand up to a big guy and win.”

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