Tenet, Cigna dispute heats up ahead of contract deadline

A contract dispute between Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare's Memphis, Tenn.-based facilities and Cigna remains unresolved as a Jan. 1 expiration date approaches, according to the Memphis Business Journal.

Here are four things to know:

1. The two organizations have failed to reach a contract agreement after 11 months of talks. If the two parties are unable to reach an agreement, commercially insured individuals will lose in-network access to several Tenet hospitals, physician clinics, freestanding surgery centers, imaging centers and urgent care centers.

2. Cigna and Tenet have publicized their negotiations, with Cigna creating a website to address its stance. In addition, Audrey Gregory, PhD, the CEO of Tenet's Memphis-based subsidiary Saint Francis Healthcare, wrote a letter to the editor Dec. 5 about the system's stance. Saint Francis has also advertised its opinion in local media.

3. In a statement to the Memphis Business Journal, a spokesperson from Tenet said: "We are negotiating in good faith and Cigna insists on misrepresenting the facts and taking steps backwards, demanding excessive, unreasonable rate cuts that will result in the wrong outcome for our patients, employees, and the communities we serve. If Cigna kicks us out of network, in order to increase their profit, patients who want to use their Cigna benefits will be left with no choice but a single health system for their care."

4. Cigna responded to the Memphis Business Journal's request for comment with the following statement: "Unfortunately, Tenet is demanding that we sign a national contract before they will negotiate locally. We are offering reimbursement rates that are competitive in the community, support local providers, and protect our clients and customers — the vast majority of whom are self-insured and are therefore paying healthcare costs directly."

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