Thousands of patients affected after UnitedHealthcare, Northwest - Tucson News Now

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Thousands of patients affected after UnitedHealthcare, Northwest Hospital fail to reach deal

(Source: KOLD News 13) (Source: KOLD News 13)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Thousands of patients may be forced to find new doctors and hospital after United Healthcare and Northwest Hospital failed to reach a deal on a new contract.

According to a news release from UnitedHealthcare, as of Monday, May 1, Northwest Healthcare will no longer be an in-network care provider for employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid health plans through United Healthcare.

The issue was over disbursements, how much the hospital and doctors charge, and how much they get paid.

The old contract had been in force since 2004 and had been renegotiated and updated annually, however that did not happen this year.

"Despite our repeated efforts to find common ground over the last several months, United made it clear they would rather compromise access to the Northwest facilities and providers than work together to reach an agreement," Northwest Hospital said on its website.

"Despite numerous attempts over the weekend to reach an agreement and significant compromises in our proposal, Northwest Healthcare and CHS (Community Health Systems) turned down our offer for a five-year agreement that would have kept the system’s hospitals, ambulatory clinics and physicians practices in our network," UnitedHealthcare said in a release.

Since the contract expired, many primary care physicians could be classified as “out of network," which means patients will need to find another doctor or pay out of pocket.

UnitedHealthcare serves 2 million customers in Arizona and, while it’s hard to estimate, it’s thought more than 20,000 patients could be affected just in the Northwest system.

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