Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Despite opposition, Pennsylvania Medicaid contracts keep unionization language - Denver Daily Post

Despite opposition, Pennsylvania Medicaid contracts keep unionization language

As Medicaid contracts are worked out to take effect in the summer, draft language remains unchanged that could compel unionization in some Pennsylvania health systems.

As The Center Square previously reported, the HealthChoices Medicaid Managed Care agreements cover the physical health portion of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid contracts, which cover almost 3 million Pennsylvanians and were worth $65 billion over the past five years.

Despite questioning from state senators and representatives who urged the draft language in the contracts to be amended, the Department of Human Services has not modified them.

Originally expected to go into effect in July, DHS has delayed them until Aug. 1. “The Department became aware of an issue involving difficulties experienced by at least one managed care organization in its efforts to develop and negotiate inclusion of certain UPMC facilities in its network, which potentially impacts the review of network adequacy requirements,” said Ali Fogarty, communications director of DHS.

However, the language has yet to be finalized, though the original plan was to have contract language finalized by April 1. “The agreements are still in draft form at this time,” Fogarty said.

The contract draft language reads, in part: “The PH-MCO may not include in its network any Provider with a history of one or more work stoppages during the five years immediately preceding the Effective Date of this Agreement, unless the Provider is or becomes a signatory to a valid collective bargaining agreement or is or becomes a signatory to a labor peace agreement with any labor organization that informs the Provider that it is seeking to represent the Provider’s employees at any site in the PH-MCO’s network that delivers services to HealthChoices enrollees.”

The agreement “is intended to prevent service disruptions to the PH-MCO’s members caused by employee unrest or dissatisfaction,” it reads.

That has not sat well with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, which has sent multiple letters to DHS opposing the language.

“Pennsylvania’s hospital community is very concerned about proposed language in upcoming Medicaid managed care contracts that, based on recently updated estimates, could jeopardize access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians,” said Liam Migdail, director of media relations for HAP. “If enacted, this proposal would preclude a dozen or more hospitals from caring for patients covered by Medicaid, including some that are the only hospitals in their rural communities and others that offer specialized care for women, children, and people with cancer.”

This article was originally posted on Despite opposition, Pennsylvania Medicaid contracts keep unionization language

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