Just last month the ACC Commission unanimously approved a deal for Piedmont Heathcare to take over Athens Regional. As the last details of the deal are settled, it has come to light that Piedmont Healthcare’s “network agreement” with health insurance giant UnitedHeathCare will expire on June 30 of this year. If the agreement is not renewed, Athens Regional, along with most other Piedmont Healthcare facilities, will become “out-of-network” for those insured by UnitedHealthCare.
Letters on the issue, along with websites, are being circulated by both Piedmont Healthcare and UnitedHealthCare. Piedmont claims that United is asking for unfairly high payment request, and United claims that Piedmont is asking for an overly restrictive contract. Either way, if this agreement is not renewed it will drastically affect hundreds of thousands of Georgians. It seems that it is likely that an agreement will not be found before the June 30 deadline. Piedmont’s Chief Operating Officer Greg Hurst said to Georgia Health News, “We have no reason to not believe we’re heading toward termination.”
If the two sides cannot come together soon many Athenians will be put into a tough situation, Athens employers such as Caterpillar offer UnitedHealthCare plans, and could make Athens Regional’s transition to Piedmont Healthcare control a rocky one.
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