HAP Statement: HAP Takes Action to Protect Patients’ Access to Care
March 25, 2019
On behalf of Pennsylvania patients and the hospitals they count on for care, The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) today filed a motion in the Middle District Federal Court to intervene in a lawsuit resulting from the significant policy consequences of recent actions by the Pennsylvania Attorney General.
At the heart of HAP’s concern is that insurers will have more influence over patient care.
Under the new health care framework that the Office of Attorney General plans to enforce, insurers would be given the power to dictate the terms of patient care, forsaking health care’s core mission of providing quality care, reducing costs, and improving the patient experience.
HAP President and CEO Andy Carter released the following statement in response:
“Every hospital’s first priority is to provide high-quality care to all patients, regardless of their geography, health status, or ability to pay. When that access to care is at risk, we take very seriously our responsibility to do the right thing and protect our patients.
“The Office of Attorney General has proposed a plan that would potentially force all nonprofit hospitals to do business with any insurer regardless of that insurer’s offered payment terms, procedures for assuring high-quality care, or the strength of its provider network. Hospitals would have their hands tied, keeping them from standing up for their patients and communities.
“Specifically, we are deeply concerned about the disruption for more than a million seniors and individuals with disabilities across Pennsylvania who have chosen to receive health care coverage through Medicare Advantage with confidence it will ensure access to high-quality care at affordable prices. This action violates the federal Medicare Advantage law. The state Attorney General’s Office is destabilizing an essential program for seniors and their providers, creating great uncertainty.
“Additionally, we are troubled by the wide-reaching impacts that this short-sighted action could have across the commonwealth, especially on the 3.5 million Pennsylvanians who are served by rural hospitals. More than half of our rural hospitals operate at a loss. This new health care regime, hastily imposed through litigation, will force cost cutting over improving quality and outcomes—resulting in lower reimbursements for hospitals and increased administrative costs. This will lead to fewer resources for patient care and community health programs.
“Health care works best when there is a trusted relationship between the patient, provider, and insurer, with government as our partners in oversight and innovation. The Office of Attorney General has put its thumb on the scale of this balance and created an unfair advantage for certain insurers, impacting patients and the hospitals that care for them.
“We believe that all parties—patients, hospitals, insurers, lawmakers, and government agencies—must roll up our sleeves and work together to solve our greatest challenges. These decisions should not be made unilaterally or in a way that gives one party an unfair advantage at the expense of our first priority: our patients.”