Prohibition against restraint on provider — Patient communications
No health maintenance organization shall refuse to contract with or compensate for covered services an otherwise eligible health care provider solely because the provider has in good faith communicated with one or more of his or her current, former or prospective patients regarding the provisions, terms, requirements, restrictions or other treatment options not provided by the health maintenance organization and of the health maintenance organization’s products and/or services as they relate to the needs of the provider’s patients. By way of illustration only, and without limiting the protections afforded in this section, the communications within this section may involve hospital stays, emergency room use, and referral to specialists. Any provision contained in any contract between a health maintenance organization and a health care provider which violates the provisions of this section shall be null and void, and any attempt by a health maintenance organization to enforce that provision shall subject the health maintenance organization to assessment of a penalty of up to five thousand dollars ($ 5,000). These penalties shall be enforced by the consumer protection division of the department of the attorney general in the district court.