UnitedHealthcare strikes deal with Arkansas system amid talks with 2 others

UnitedHealthcare patients will be back in network with Conway (Ark.) Regional Health System Aug. 15 after the sides were able to come to an agreement, Arkansas Business reported Aug. 9. 

The sides split in July after they were unable to come to an agreement amid negotiations over reimbursement rates, according to the report. 

UnitedHealthcare insures about 15,000 Conway patients. About 10 percent of the health system's revenue comes from those patients. 

Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare is in negotiations with two other providers in the state, according to the report. Little Rock-based Arkansas Heart Hospital has said it will likely go out of network with the payer if reimbursement rates are not raised. Fayetteville-based Washington Regional Medical System said it is optimistic it can reach a deal with UnitedHealthcare.  

Arkansas Heart Hospital CEO Bruce Murphy, MD, PhD, told Arkansas Business on Aug. 7 that the hospital's contract with UnitedHealthcare is on a monthly extension. Dr. Murphy said if there is an impasse, it is because of the payer "because we know what we're worth."

UnitedHealthcare told the news outlet that providers that demand rates similar to their competitors will significantly drive up healthcare costs for its policyholders and employers who use UnitedHealthcare for self-funded commercial health plans. 

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