Cigna HealthCare of Arizona and Catholic Healthcare West have agreed on a retroactive contract renewal for plan members to have in-network access to the hospital system’s facilities and providers.
As of midnight April 25, Cigna no longer had a contract with Chandler Regional Medical Center, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center or any Catholic Healthcare West-related facility, including many physicians’ practices. Cigna provides health coverage and employee benefit services to nearly 350,000 people in Arizona.
The contract has been renewed through June 2009 and is retroactive to the contract termination date.
“No one should have been impacted by this since we were able to negotiate a retroactive start date for the contract,” said David Covert, president and CEO of Chandler Regional Medical Center/Catholic Healthcare West East Valley Service Area. “I believe, over the last couple of weeks, that while this is difficult certainly for the patients, the members of Cigna, as well as the physicians in the community, I think everyone did a very good job communicating with one another and looking forward to the successful completion of the contract.”
Continuity of care provisions covered the majority of members accessing care from Catholic Healthcare West when the contract was terminated, said Kurt Weimer, president and general manager of Cigna HealthCare of Arizona.
“If, for example, you had an appointment with one of the physicians associated with the system that wouldn’t necessarily be continuity of care, and you went ahead and had the visit and the physician charged you (out-of-network), we would make an adjustment so that individual would be charged what our contractor rate is,” he said.
The contract termination led to much confusion and disruption among patients and physicians affiliated with Catholic Healthcare West, especially OB/GYN practices.
“I’m concerned about how it impacted people who are members of our health plan and regret that window of no contract and confusion,” Weimer said. “But again, all of the people who were requiring care and who were in process of care were covered by the continuity of care procedures, so there was not that great of an impact to those individuals.”
Cigna members with questions about their coverage should contact Cigna customer service. If a visit or procedure was canceled this past week, patients are asked to call their physician office to reschedule.
Cigna members in the Valley have in-network access to Catholic Healthcare West’s medical services and programs, including neurology, cardiology, pediatrics, women’s services, orthopedics, oncology, rehabilitation and maternity care.