Casey rounds up support in face of United Healthcare threat
Insurer looking to cut Landmark, 52 northern Rhode Island doctors from network
STATE HOUSE – With a United Healthcare proposal in front of the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) that would cut 52 northern Rhode Island physicians and Landmark Medical Center from its provider network, Rep. Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket) voiced strong opposition to the plan last week and reached out to his colleagues in the General Assembly for support.
While negotiations are still ongoing between Prime Healthcare and United Healthcare insurance company for Medicaid and commercial contracts (a deal has already been reached with Prime in respect to the insurer’s Medicare program), Representative Casey said United is threatening to destroy years of hard work that would put the success of Prime’s newly-acquired Landmark Medical Center and the medical community in northern Rhode Island in serious jeopardy.
“Simply put, Landmark should be reimbursed on the same financial scale as other Rhode Island hospitals,” Representative Casey said. “If United Healthcare decides to drop it from its network, that will not only cause a severe rupture in access to medical treatment for northern Rhode Islanders, but it could also reverse years of hard work exuded by countless factions of people to get the hospital back on track after it fell into receivership. Landmark has not had an increase in payments from United since 2010, and of all the hospitals in the state, United pays Landmark the lowest amount. There is clearly a need here to pay the hospital enough to keep it profitable. This is not the old Landmark, and United needs to understand that.”
Representative Casey reached out to other state lawmakers and asked them to call, email and write to DOH Director Michael Fine last week on behalf of the hospital and affected physicians.
“Finding a physician who you trust and who knows your history is worth so much,” Representative Casey said. “If this modified plan goes through for United, it will certainly break hundreds of strong patient-doctor relationships in this part of the state. Northern Rhode Island needs to be able to retain all of its assets in order to contribute to a successful economic rebound in this state, and that means we need our hospital and physicians to be readily accessible to nearby residents. But this is not just a personal blow to the many patients residing in Woonsocket and surrounding areas. My main concern is that it could become a huge economic detriment to an area that is already vigorously fighting against the tide to stay afloat.”
The public comment period for the plan modification review ended on April 20. Representative Casey said he is hopeful that Dr. Fine will take everything into consideration while assessing United’s proposal.
In 2013, Landmark Medical Center received approximately 21,000 visits from 8,100 United subscribers. Sixty percent of those visits were from patients residing in Woonsocket, while 88 percent were from residents living in the primary service area. Approximately 700 of those visits were solely for oncology services. Landmark officials noted the total value of business with United is approximately $22 million. Since the Landmark acquisition three months ago, Prime Healthcare has secured new contracts with insurers Aetna, Coventry Health Care and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI.
For more information, contact:
Brenna McCabe, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903