Pediatricians, sick kids, caught in battle between Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and insurance provider

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A battle is brewing between United Healthcare and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

The hospital announced on Tuesday that it had not come to a contract agreement with the insurance provider, leaving many parents upset and turning to their pediatricians for help.

Phones are ringing off the hook at Dr. Lori McAuliffe’s office in St. Petersburg.  The pediatrician refers dozens of patients with United Health Care to specialists at All Children’s, and now that coverage is out-of-network, the office is receiving a high volume of calls from worried parents.

“If they don’t have out-of-network benefits, it’s thousands and thousands of dollars. Our parents are very upset,” said Erin Thompson, a billing specialist at Dr. McAuliffe’s office.

Thompson says staffers are doing what they can to help find alternatives.

“We’re working very hard with them to see if we can find another specialist,” she continued.

Ashleigh Futchko is one of Dr. McAuliffe’s clients whose children were referred to All Children’s to see a specialist.

“With a 20-minute drive tops from my house, now I’m expected to cross a bridge,” said Futchko. “If either of my children would need any type of surgery that would be more than just a quick day surgery, I would not be able to have him operate at all children’s hospital.”

United Healthcare members who qualify for the hospital’s in-network coverage may still be able to receive care at All Children’s for a period of time.  This coverage is referred to as Continuity of Care, and the deadline to apply is June 9.

A Continuity of Care form can be downloaded at http://www.uhc.com/continuity-of-care.

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