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Update: Negotiations with UnitedHealthCare
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Beginning April 1, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) members will no longer be able to access CHI St. Vincent physicians and services as an in-network provider.
After months of good-faith negotiating by CHI St. Vincent, UHC will exclude CHI St. Vincent’s hospitals and physicians from its network if a new agreement is not reached.
The current contract, which serves more than 30,000 UHC members through CHI St. Vincent providers, ends on March 31. This includes hospitals in Hot Springs, Little Rock, Morrilton and Sherwood, as well as all doctors and providers that are part of the CHI St. Vincent. UHC members can access CHI St. Vincent services, including hospitals and physicians, through the end of day on March 31 and receive in-network benefits.
“We are disappointed that United has been unwilling to agree to fair and reasonable rates for our services to date,” said Chad Aduddell, chief executive officer of CHI St. Vincent. “Our goal has been, and always will be, to serve our communities and to provide excellent patient care to anyone who chooses to trust our hospitals and physicians. It is important we have partners that help support our ministry and efforts to maintain the highest quality patient care.”
The contract termination is a direct result of UnitedHealthcare’s failure to agree to fairly reimburse CHI St. Vincent for services and care to be provided to UHC members, Aduddell said. The UHC contract was originally due to expire on March 1, 2017. CHI St. Vincent leadership agreed to extend the contract two times to try to come to an agreement with UHC.
CHI St. Vincent leadership has worked hard in recent years to bring healthcare value to the community by increasing access (particularly to underserved Arkansans), providing high quality care and decreasing overall costs. With the changing landscape of healthcare, providers should be paid based on the quality of services provided, not the quantity. CHI St. Vincent is dedicated to retaining the best physicians and nurses in Arkansas to achieve this goal and relies on insurance companies such as UHC to agree to pay fair rates, Aduddell said.
“Our reimbursement from UnitedHealthcare has remained low – even during times of great financial challenge for local, nonprofit hospitals like CHI St. Vincent,” Aduddell said. “Our goal over the 128 years of our ministry has always been to reinvest in our people, remaining competitive in the market when it comes to retaining the best and brightest in caregiving. Our recently announced growth plans for the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute and its team of physicians and staff is an example of that commitment. Unfortunately, that kind of continual reinvestment becomes an even greater challenge when we aren’t paid adequately from our payers.”
Aduddell said CHI St. Vincent will continue negotiations with UHC in hopes of resolving contract issues. In the meantime, community members should take the following steps to ensure treatment:
- People with emergency needs may still access CHI St. Vincent emergency department and receive in-network care.
- People currently in treatment or scheduled for a procedure or test that is emergent should call the UnitedHealthcare Customer Care number on the UnitedHealthcare member ID card and request approval for continuity of care at in-network benefit levels.
- For questions related to benefits, UnitedHealthcare members should call the UHC Customer Care at (800) 239-3215.