Pennsylvania well being techniques could also be compelled to unionize by Medicaid contracts

(The Heart Sq.) – The Pennsylvania Division of Human Companies is drafting Medicaid contracts that might compel health-care suppliers to unionize, making it tougher for low-income sufferers to entry well being care and threatening greater than a dozen hospital techniques’ participation in Medicaid.

The HealthChoices Medicaid Managed Care agreements would take impact in July and would stop a managed care plan from together with in its community a supplier that has had a piece stoppage inside 5 years – until the supplier has signed a collective bargaining settlement.

Successfully, well being care suppliers can be compelled to unionize to have the ability to present Medicaid companies. If suppliers wouldn’t unionize after the supply takes impact, the specter of a piece stoppage sooner or later may jeopardize their Medicaid participation.

The contracts concern the bodily well being portion of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid contracts, which had been price greater than $16 billion in FY2021-22. Pennsylvania has nearly 2.8 million Medicaid enrollees and the state’s Medicaid contracts have been price $65 billion during the last 5 years, in accordance with the Pittsburgh Put up-Gazette. 

In testimony at a Home Appropriations Committee listening to on March 9, Snead stated the brand new provision’s language “was a collaboration between the administration and SEIU.” The language within the contracts remains to be within the strategy of negotiation and never finalized, although Snead famous the division desires to have a finalized model by April 1.

“My concern with all of that is that it may doubtlessly restrict well being care choices for low-income people,” stated Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-Jacobus. 

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“I feel that the Wolf administration is taking us down a really harmful path,” Phillips-Hill stated. “It actually comes all the way down to placing sufferers at nice threat to entry their care.”

The supply had been little-noticed till it got here up throughout committee hearings within the Basic Meeting.

“I feel it was one thing the administration hoped would fly below the radar. They definitely didn’t wish to deliver this to the Basic Meeting,” Phillips-Hill stated.

The Hospital and Healthsystem Affiliation of Pennsylvania, which represents 240 hospitals and well being techniques, despatched two letters to DHS in response to the supply. Within the letters, HAP expressed issues that the supply would “Improperly inject a subsidiary coverage objective – mandating well being care unionization – right into a program that’s designed to offer entry to care to weak and low-income Pennsylvanians.”

“From our perspective, the aim of Medicaid packages ought to be to advertise entry to care and the state ought to be working to cut back hurdles for Medicaid sufferers to acquire care, to not minimize off hospitals or different suppliers,” stated Jeffrey Bechtel, senior vp for well being economics and coverage at HAP.