Rockville, MD (Reuters) A Rockville doctor who said he was on antidepressant medication for seven to eight months said on Thursday he has been told by his insurer that he will no longer be covered.
The insurer’s announcement comes a day after the Rockville City Council passed a resolution supporting the doctor’s efforts to remain free of the drugs.
A Rockville city spokeswoman said in a statement that the city “will continue to support the doctor and his family in their efforts to work toward their medical care goals.”
The spokeswoman added that the City Council was considering whether to seek an additional $30,000 in taxpayer money to cover his care.
Dr. Scott J. DeLuca said he and his wife, Dr. Bethany, were taking the medication to help control their diabetes and hypertension.
Dr DeLucas said he had been on the medication for about two months and that he had gone to doctors and health plans to ask them about coverage for the medication.
“I was told that the policy is not changing, but the City is asking for another $30k to cover the costs,” Dr DeLucae told Reuters Health.
He said he decided to seek coverage from his employer and received a notice from the insurer.
“I was a little surprised because I had never heard of that before,” he said.
“It’s a very complicated situation.”
The doctor said he would now take his prescription medication free of charge.
Rockville City Manager Robert G. McElvain said he spoke with Dr De Lucae, and he is looking into his options.
Dr McElavain said in an email that he was looking into ways to “help ensure that the costs for the patient are covered.”
He said the city is seeking to raise $30 million to help cover Dr DeLuca’s care.
Rockbridge City Council Member Linda J. Schubert, who was the only other council member to vote against the resolution, said in statement that “rockville’s citizens need access to a quality healthcare system that meets their needs.”
“I’m thankful for the support of the community, the council, the residents and the elected officials who have stood with Dr. De Luca, but it’s not enough,” she said.
“Our city is going to continue to work to ensure the doctor is able to continue providing care for his family.”
Rockville Mayor David E. McDaniel said in his statement that he is aware of the news and is seeking more information.
He added that he believes that “we need to be able to help with the costs that are incurred for the care that we’re providing and that we will continue to be there for him as he continues his treatment.”
Dr De Lucas has been in Rockville for over two decades and was working as a doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore before joining Rockville in 2005.
He previously worked in Washington, D.C. and the District of Columbia.
Dr J.D. Schaubert, president of the American Medical Association’s board of directors, said the hospital system is committed to working with doctors to improve care.
“We recognize that many physicians have struggled with depression and anxiety,” she wrote in an emailed statement.
“The AMA board supports Dr De Luca’s efforts in his treatment and is committed for Rockville to provide the most comprehensive medical care possible.”
Dr. Schuabert said in the statement that she believes the hospital is doing its best to help.
“However, we need to continue our efforts to support those who have been affected by depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues,” she added.
“We are committed to helping Dr De Lauca continue his recovery and to provide him with the most appropriate care possible.
We appreciate Dr DeLauca’s willingness to share his personal story and to work collaboratively with us to make sure we’re meeting his medical needs.”
The Rockville mayor’s statement did not specify whether the hospital would seek to cover Dr. Deluca’s treatment, but Rockville has been seeking reimbursement from the hospital since February.
Dr DeLuca has been under fire since his diagnosis in August and was released from a hospital on Sept. 3, the same day his trial was set to begin.
He faces a minimum of 20 years in prison on a count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of lying to a federal grand jury.