First Choice Health could drop Harrison hospital

674094_5539855_ver1.0_640_480-1Harrison Medical Center will fall out of network with insurer First Choice Health if the two sides can’t agree on a new contract by Sept. 1.

Bob Hinman, First Choice vice president for network management, said contract negotiations with Harrison have reached an impasse.

First Choice believes reimbursement rates Harrison receives under the current contract are unfairly high, Hinman said. He was hopeful talks would continue.

“I think that’s everyone’s hope we could come to agreement on appropriate terms,” he said.

Hinman said First Choice has roughly 3,000 customers in Harrison’s market, and has included the hospital in its network since the 1990s.

The insurer sent a notice to clients warning them the contract with Harrison may terminate in September. If Harrison is dropped from the provider network, First Choice customers will have to pay much higher out-of-pocket costs to access services at the hospital.

The contract in jeopardy only covers Harrison Medical Center. Harrison HealthPartners physicians have a separate contract with First Choice, Hinman said.

Representatives of CHI Franciscan Health, Harrison’s parent company, remained confident an agreement would be reached.

“We are in active contract discussions with First Choice Health and anticipate to have a resolution before the September 1 deadline,” CHI Franciscan spokesman Shawn Jennison said in a statement.

Harrison has had rocky relations with insurance carriers over the past few years. A contract between the hospital and UnitedHealthcare terminated in December 2013. Harrison rejoined United’s network in April 2015.

Harrison and Regence BlueShield failed to renew a contract in August 2014, prompting widespread outcry among Kitsap customers. Regence and Harrison signed a new agreement in February 2015. 

First Choice Health is a Seattle-based health care company owned by physicians and hospitals.

If you have insurance through First Choice I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email at tad.sooter@kitsapsun.com or leave a comment below.

Want to know when fresh content is posted to the Minding Your Business blog? Sign up for email alerts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

(Not a trick question) What color is the pink house?