ECHN: UnitedHealthcare's Public Tactics Misleading And Unreasonable
Sep 13, 2011 -
ECHN Remains Willing to Negotiate in Earnest on Behalf of Patients
(Manchester, CT) Peter J. Karl, President and CEO of Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN), today informed Stephen J. Hemsley, President & CEO of UnitedHealth Group, as well as representatives of UnitedHealthcare/Oxford Health Plans (United), of his deep disappointment over public misstatements made last week by a spokeswoman for the company. These statements were made shortly after ECHN, in an effort to be transparent, notified its patients and physicians of its intention to terminate its contract with United unless the parties could negotiate fair and reasonable reimbursement rates.
“Because of the deliberate misrepresentations made by United to the media, it is critical for us to correct the record,” said Karl. “United’s comments paint an incomplete, inaccurate and misleading picture of our ongoing rate negotiations and ECHN’s pricing. We are seeking fair and reasonable reimbursement levels from United that will allow us to provide quality care at rates that are not substantially and unfairly below market price. As a not-for-profit health care system whose primary mission is to provide high-quality, compassionate care to over 330,000 people in eastern Connecticut, below-market reimbursement rates are unacceptable.”
“While ECHN contends that United’s apparent attempt to gain an unfair market advantage by proposing ‘predatory pricing’ is regrettable, we remain committed to trying to achieve a fair and reasonable rate settlement in order that United’s patient-members in our service area are not denied access to coverage from ECHN or any of our affiliates,” says Karl.
ECHN is a community-based, not-for-profit health care system, with two of the lowest cost hospitals in the state, Manchester Memorial Hospital and Rockville General Hospital, according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Office of Health Care Access. ECHN has been successful over the past several years at reducing its costs while achieving national recognition for the quality of its care. According to Karl, last year alone ECHN reinvested more than $14 million into the communities it serves in uncompensated care for uninsured and underinsured residents.
Unless ECHN and United are able to come to a rate agreement by October 15, 2011, the current rate agreement with United will expire. “We will continue to negotiate in earnest on behalf of the patients who could be impacted in our community to ensure continued access to quality health care that is close to home,” says Karl.
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