Five New York hospitals, including Beth Israel Medical Center, are engaged in a heated contract feud with UnitedHealthcare, one of America’s largest insurance companies, according to the New York Times. The standoff involves UnitedHealthcare’s new policy that hospitals must notify them within 24 hours of a patient’s admission or face losing half of that patient’s reimbursements. UnitedHealthcare, which covers 25 million people nationally and one million in New York, claims this allows insurance case managers to propose cost-cutting health measures right away. The hospitals, though, fear clerical errors and staff shortages – two common occurrences – could result in repeated notification delays, ultimately costing patients more money. The final outcome of the battle could determine whether other hospitals follow suit when entering agreements with UnitedHealthcare.
Meanwhile in Washington, members of Congress are still pondering how to proceed with the health care bill, The Boston Globe reports. Democratic leaders are trying to judge "what the climate is, what’s the art of the possible," Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett told NBC’s "Meet the Press." Los Angeles Times writer Kim Geiger says that Democrats may have to make further compromises on the bill to avoid rejection from the Republican side, and that Obama’s idea of re-examining the bill on a provision-by-provision basis probably won’t work. "It's almost impossible to isolate and approve one provision by itself. The healthcare system is so interconnected that changing one part affects other parts. That leads to consequences and pushes the debate into areas where not everyone agrees," Geiger writes.
Also in today’s health care news:
A Remedy for Mississippi’s Health Blues (Los Angeles Times)
When Explained, Health Overhaul Popularity Goes Up (NPR)