The public comment period has ended and now the Rhode Island health department must decide whether United Healthcare can cut Landmark Medical Center from its insurance network. The decision could affect thousands of patients.
The health department must decide by this summer whether to approve a request to drop the Woonsocket hospital and 52 of its physicians from United’s health plans. Meanwhile, Landmark and the insurer are still in negotiations over a contract that could determine whether a routine visit to the hospital is covered as an “in-network” or “out-of-network” benefit. Landmark president Ric Charest says some patients with United health insurance might still get some of their medical care at Landmark covered. But his hospital could lose business on the others.
“There are subscribers that have United commercial that have out-of-network benefits. Those patients could still come here because we would be considered out-of-network, if the Department of Health approved the plan. Other patients with elective procedures would likely look to go elsewhere.”
United says Landmark ended the contract last December. And in a statement the insurer said that while it’s open to discussions, the hospital’s proposed increases are too steep. Landmark says it canceled most insurer contracts as the hospital was emerging from receivership in order to re-negotiate more equitable rates.