November 7, 2017

Lembo, Mohegans, others urge end to HHC/Anthem standoff

PHOTO | Gregory Bordonaro
PHOTO | Gregory Bordonaro
Hartford Hospital, the flagship campus of Hartford HealthCare.

Comptroller Kevin Lembo and the Mohegan tribe on Tuesday sent a joint letter to Anthem and Hartford HealthCare calling for a resolution to their acrimonious contract negotiations, which they say are causing financial distress for their employees.

The letter, also signed by the mayor and town manager of West Hartford and Bob Tessier, the executive director of the CT Coalition of Taft-Hartley Health Funds, takes the two organizations to task for failing to resolve contract negotiations that have left thousands of patients without insurance coverage for some services rendered by HHC, which owns numerous hospitals, urgent care clinics and other facilities in Greater Hartford.

Contract negotiations broke off Oct. 1 and have been continuing on and off since.

Lembo and the other authors of the letter said they were writing on behalf of "some of the largest employers in Connecticut and the region" with approximately 300,000 people covered by the insurer or served by the hospital.

"We urge an immediate end to the ongoing disruption to health care access that has resulted from HHC's and Anthem's failure to resolve this contract dispute in a timely and responsible fashion," the letter states.

Their employees are experiencing "heightened frustration" with both parties, the letter said.

In a statement on the status of the talks, Anthem Spokesperson Sarah Yeager said: "Our priority is to ultimately reach an agreement and end this disruption for our members. There is a still a gap, but we don't believe we are far apart. Both parties have to be willing to compromise and focus on our shared commitment to Connecticut residents and come to an agreement."

Hartford HealthCare Spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said in a statement: "We share concerns about patients getting caught in the middle, and the disruption it is causing. We remain concerned about how far apart we remain in these negotiations. Hartford HealthCare needs to be paid fairly by Anthem so we can continue to provide the residents of Connecticut access to the high quality and coordinated healthcare they deserve. Other insurers understand this and partner with us. Only Anthem refuses to pay its fair share."

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