MVP drops Portsmouth, Parkland hospitals

Citing high rates for health-care services, MVP Health Care has announced it will terminate its contracts with Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Parkland Medical Center in Derry. Termination of the contracts means that effective April 5 neither hospital will be an “in-network” provider for MVP subscribers. Under state law, MVP members will continue to have in-network access to both hospitals for an additional 60 days beyond April 5. As reason for termination, the not-for-profit health insurer cited health-care costs that they say are, in some cases, as much as 80 percent higher than those of other New Hampshire hospitals. “After many months of seeking to negotiate rates that are more consistent with those charged by other New Hampshire hospitals, we have reluctantly concluded that we have no choice but notify Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Parkland Medical Center that we are terminating our agreements,” said Chris Henchey, vice president of MVP New Hampshire. “As a not-for-profit health insurer, we have a corporate commitment and fiduciary responsibility to our members and to the New Hampshire communities we serve to negotiate and pay reasonable fees for the health care services our members use.””In addition, a growing number of our members are choosing health plans with high deductibles,” said Henchey. “For these members in particular, higher-than-average rates result in significantly higher out-of-pocket costs which they must bear.” Nancy Notis, a spokesperson for both hospitals, criticized what she said was a growing “negotiating trend” by insurance companies to publicly air payment disputes between them and the hospitals.”We don’t believe it is productive to negotiate a contract through the press, and aren’t planning to do so now,” she said.She added that the hospitals “have every intention of working in good faith with MVP to reach an agreement on a new contract. It is disappointing that they chose at this point to terminate the agreement, instead of working to negotiate. We highly value the relationship with the 1,650 patients this impacts.” This is not the first time in recent months that contract disputes between insurers and hospitals have made headlines in the state. In late 2010, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Hampshire announced the cancellation of its 2011 contract with Exeter Hospital, citing high costs at the hospital. MVP members will still be able to receive covered emergency care at both of the for-profit hospitals, which are owned by Nashville, Tenn.-based Hospital Corporation of America.In the Seacoast region, MVP members will continue to have access to regional hospitals, including Exeter Hospital, Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover.MVP members in the Derry area will continue to have in-network access at all Manchester and Nashua hospitals, including Catholic Medical Center and Elliot Hospital in Manchester, Saint Joseph Hospital as well as Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua. – KATHLEEN CALLAHAN