United Healthcare update: 6-year-old Gilbert boy with autism forced to find new doctor

GILBERT, AZ - New numbers show a major ripple effect after insurance giant United Healthcare cut ties with doctors in the Obstetrix Medical Group.

Obstetrix Medical Group counts 5,000 patients in the state of Arizona. One of its developmental pediatricians who works in Scottsdale sees 200 patients.

One of those patients is six-year-old Robert Murphy whose doctor diagnosed with autism when he was three years old.

Robert's mom says sensory overload can cause a meltdown at anytime.

"Just going to the store some days can be a challenge, we may leave with nothing." Louise Murphy said. "All at once he can hear every baby cry, every song and announcement on the overhead speaker, sees every flashing light and feels the cold of the refrigerators and it affects him."

The kindergartner sees three therapists a week to manage his reactions and work on his motor skills, speech and learning how to do things most people take for granted like turning on a faucet or putting out your hands to stop yourself when you fall.

The Murphy's are one of the thousands who got the notice from Obstetrix Medical Group that his pediatrician has been dropped by United Healthcare over contract negotiations.

Robert's doctor has been with him every step of the way since his diagnosis. 

She's also the one who has to sign off for the other therapists, and without her, his treatment stops. 

The Murphy's are now forced to find another doctor which could set Robert's development back. 

"His doctor remembers when he was hiding under the chair and wouldn't get out of my lap. You can't get that with someone new," said Murphy.

There's only one other specialist in the Valley who is still "in the network" and Murphy says the waiting list for new patients is long and aside for any checkups that may pop up, her son will need new referrals by April.

United Healthcare and Obstetrix Medical Group continue to negotiate.

Patients can call 1-866-315-4058 for billing questions.

Patients should also be advised the Pediatrix offices located at 15650 N. Black Canyon Highway in Phoenix and 2030 West Whispering Wind Drive in Phoenix are not affiliated with Obstetrix Medical Group of Arizona and are NOT part of this termination by United Healthcare of Arizona.

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