Sick kids stuck in middle of contract battle between UnitedHealthcare, All Children’s Hospital

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, file photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Contract negotiations could impact children who are patients at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital announced on Tuesday that it had not come to a contract agreement with insurance provider UnitedHealthcare:

“As of May 11, 2017, United Healthcare now considers hospital-based services and provider (physician) services at Johns Hopkins All Children’s as out-of-network,” said Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in a statement released on Tuesday.

“We are a not-for-profit teaching hospital that is always reinvesting in the care of kids,” said Jonathan Ellen, M.D., president and vice dean of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

“We are simply asking for a fair rate that allows us to provide the best care for kids who have highly specialized medical needs. We need to continue to make investments to improve care, develop better therapies, find cures and educate the next generation of pediatric specialists.”

Patients and families remain a top priority while Johns Hopkins All Children’s strives to reach a fair resolution with United. Hospital staff and physicians are working diligently and through extended hours to help families navigate this stressful time.

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital said it has created a special phone line for United Healthcare patient families (727) 767-8284 or 1-800-456-4543.

United Healthcare released the following statement on Tuesday:

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital decided on May 11 not to renew its participation in UnitedHealthcare’s network for employer-sponsored, individual and Medicaid plans. This means the hospital is now considered out of network for these plans. Some UnitedHealthcare members may be able to continue receiving care at All Children’s with in-network coverage for a period of time, referred to as Continuity of Care, and the deadline to apply is June 9. A Continuity of Care form can be downloaded here.

“All Children’s is paid competitive rates that are in line with other specialty hospitals in the St. Petersburg area. Despite UnitedHealthcare offering to increase their reimbursement rates by 20 percent, they continue to turn down our offers, insist on a 35 percent raise, and are deferring to an out-of-state consultant to manage the negotiation rather than working directly with our local team to reach a quick resolution.”

The care Johns Hopkins All Children’s provides is not only important, but is personal, and UnitedHealthcare remains focused on members’ continued access to the care they need. Here are some important resources:

Children’s Specialty Care – UnitedHealthcare is committed to ensuring members have access to the specialty care needed for their children. All other hospitals in Pinellas County as well as the Tampa Bay market participate in our network, including the following children’s specialty hospitals:

Children’s Medical Center at Tampa General Hospital

St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital – Tampa

Shriners Hospital for Children – Tampa

Emergencies – in the event of an emergency, members should go to the nearest hospital regardless of network affiliation. Emergency services will be covered as an in-network benefit regardless of the hospital’s participation status in UnitedHealthcare’s network.

Online – visit http://www.uhc.com/johnshopkins-allchildrens for updates on All Children’s participation in UnitedHealthcare’s network, as well as http://www.myuhc.com to look up other participating hospitals and physicians.

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