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Anthem attempts to settle contract dispute with Hartford HealthCare

The insurer's president tells Hartford HealthCare execs that it would send over a list of neutral mediators.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Credit: Hartford HospitalsCredit: Hartford Hospitals

In an effort to break a contract impasse, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield President and General Manager Jill Rubin Hummel sent an email to Hartford HealthCare executives on Sunday calling for a compromise and mediation.

The provider and insurer have been unable to come to terms on a new, three-year contract, since the current agreement expired on Sept. 30, leaving numerous patients out-of-network for care at Hartford HealthCare's hospitals and physician offices.

[Also: Anthem replaces CEO Joe Swedish with UnitedHealth executive]

"It is beyond time for HHC to stop disrupting patient care while our discussions continue – and for both parties to compromise and to reach a new agreement so that Anthem members can rest easy knowing that they will be able to continue to receive care from HHC hospitals and affiliated providers on an in-network basis without disruption,"  Hummel said in the Nov. 12 email to Hartford HealthCare CEO Elliot Joseph  and to President and COO Jeffrey A. Flaks.

Anthem is willing to go to non-binding mediation in an effort to reach an agreement, Hummel said in the email provided to Healthcare Finance. Hummel said Anthem would send recommendations for a neutral mediator on Monday.

[Also: Anthem establishes its own pharmacy benefits manager]

HHC has refused - multiple times - to extend or reinstate the prior contract, according to Anthem.

The impasse is due to the health system asking for too much money, according to reports in the Hartford Courant.

"I know that we share a commitment to our members and your patients. Towards that end, I extended a new offer to Jeff over the phone last Friday (November 3) and reached out to Jeff three times last weekend to continue our discussions," Hummel said. "This past Monday (November 6), we memorialized our offer in writing. Though your media statements seem to indicate that you see things differently, we do not believe that our positions about the terms for a new agreement are far apart so we remained hopeful that continued discussions would allow us to reach agreement. Disappointingly, it has now been over a week and we have not received any response from you to our outreach or proposal."

Hartford HealthCare has also said it wants Anthem to work with them to restore in-network access for patients.

On its website, Hartford Healthcare said that the provider knew the names of patients and their health status, while to Anthem, people were a number representing a profit or loss.

Its Anthem that has chosen not to keep Hartford HealthCare in network, the website states.

"To Anthem, you're a profitable or non-profitable member of a population," the website states. "To Anthem, your choices don't matter. It decides for you."

Meanwhile Hartford Healthcare last month signed a new, three-year agreement with Aetna, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The agreement builds on an ongoing collaboration between Aetna, Hartford HealthCare and its clinical integration organization, Integrated Care Partners. The three organizations have been exchanging data to identify and treat people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, the provider said.

Hartford HealthCare has Aetna for its own employee health plan.

The Connecticut health system includes a tertiary-care teaching hospital, an acute-care community teaching hospital, an acute-care hospital and trauma center, two community hospitals and an extensive behavioral health network.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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