All Children’s Hospital, UnitedHealthcare resume negotiations after contract battle

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) —Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital announced on Tuesday that it had not come to a contract agreement with insurance provider UnitedHealthcare, leaving many sick children without coverage.  But after a groundswell of outrage over the decision, the hospital announced Friday that it has resumed contract negotiations with the insurance provider.

The president and vice dean of the hospital, Dr. Jonathan Ellen released the following statement regarding the news:

“We restarted the dialogue with United Healthcare, however, we have no new information to report. With as much fidelity as possible, we are pushing hard to reach a fair agreement. We must continue to speak up. It’s what is necessary and right for our children and families.”

This is a sign to remain hopeful for many parents whose children are cared for at All Children’s.

McKinley Moore, age 4, has been going to All Children’s since she was two.  Moore has Leukemia and her parents drive 40 minutes each way for her to get blood infusions to boost her antibodies.

Days before she was supposed to go in for treatment, her mother Karen, received a call from the hospital about her insurance.

“We are no longer covered and the blood product that she was supposed to have Tuesday now, which was rescheduled, would require a prior authorization and she couldn’t promise that would go through by then,” said Moore.

Like hundreds of other parents, Karen’s insurance is now out-of-network, and it would cost thousands for McKinley’s treatments.

“By denying us this blood product, didn’t just not give us the product and cause her to get sick, it literally was a spiral effect to other things as well. So it was extremely frustrating,” she said.

In a video, Dr. Jonathon Ellen urged parents to continue to speak up and flood United Healthcare with calls and emails.

“Let’s not let big insurance decide what’s best for our children. Our kids deserve better,” he said.

Karen refuses to take McKinley anywhere else.

“It’s not happening. She is scared to go to the emergency center,” said Moore. “So to go to a completely new place that don’t know her, that don’t know me, that we have a relationship with everyone, so it would be starting completely over.”

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