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YOUNGSTOWN Doctor's lawsuit seeks $20 million from Anthem



Published: Thu, May 24, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The doctor says his contract was canceled despite low costs and high success rate.

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Boardman physician specializing in rehabilitation and treatment of chronic pain has filed a $20 million lawsuit against Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for cutting him from its approved list of health care providers.

Dr. Anthony N. Pannozzo, who owns Pain Centers Nationwide and Creekside Fitness and Health Center, both on Boardman-Canfield Road, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Youngstown. Atty. Mark Steven Colucci is representing Dr. Pannozzo in the case.

The lawsuit also names Dr. Kevin L. Nash, who has offices on Gypsy Lane, Youngstown, as a defendant.

Joe Bobbey, an Anthem spokesman in Cincinnati, said company officials had just received a copy of the lawsuit and were not prepared to comment.

Dr. Nash did not return a call requesting comment.

Background: Dr. Pannozzo had a professional provider agreement with Anthem for 10 years and the insurance generally paid 100 percent of his charges to patients covered by Anthem health insurance, the suit states.

During that time, Dr. Nash was an agent for Anthem, the suit states.

Because of Anthem's decision to cancel his contract, Pannozzo "lost and continues to lose substantial income, the value of his business has significantly diminished, his professional name has been tarnished in various circles without good cause," the suit states.

The pact was terminated, it states, despite "clear and convincing evidence" that Pannozzo was "providing the best care to Anthem insured at the lowest cost with the fewest visits and the highest success rates."

Dr. Pannozzo also fulfilled Anthem's credential requirements throughout the 10-year span.

Allegation: Pannozzo's suit accuses Nash of violating the federal Antitrust Act by taking part in removing him and his cost-effective treatments from Anthem's provider list, thus allowing his competitors to charge higher fees.

The lawsuit demands $5 million in compensatory and consequential damages, and $15 million in punitive damages and asks the court to issue a temporary injunction that would keep Pannozzo on Anthem's medical provider list until further notice.




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