Editorial: Contract impasse not good medicine - Albuquerque Journal

Editorial: Contract impasse not good medicine

New Mexicans have been living with a lot of health uncertainty for nearly three years. Now, due to stalled contract negotiations, thousands of New Mexicans enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Group plans may have to find new doctors and hospitals.

Physician and hospital contracts between UnitedHealthcare and Lovelace, which have been in place for nearly 20 years, are set to expire early next year. Negotiations have stalled for unclear reasons, leaving up to 13,400 United members in health care limbo. That number includes 2,400 United members who have Lovelace physicians as primary care providers — people such as cancer patient Colleen Aycock of Albuquerque, who’s been utilizing Lovelace as her main source of care.

“To me, this is a crisis,” Aycock told the Journal. “We can’t get answers.”

The current contract between United and Lovelace’s hospitals is set to expire in January. The contract between United and Lovelace’s physicians will come to an end in March if a new agreement isn’t reached. That means, starting next year, all United plans at Lovelace — with the exception of Medicare Supplement plans — will be considered out of network, and out of luck.

Seriously ill patients such as Aycock need continuity of care. They should be able to focus on their recovery, not left scrambling to find new providers two years into cancer treatment.

United and Lovelace have created a health care crisis affecting more over 13,000 New Mexicans, many of whom rely on Lovelace Medical Center, Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell, Heart Hospital of New Mexico at Lovelace Medical Center, Lovelace Women’s Hospital and Lovelace Westside Hospital for care.

“It’s desperation,” Aycock explained. “It’s like the rug is yanked out from underneath you.”

United and Lovelace need to work this out, and ASAP, to keep patients and their trusted providers connected.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

Home » Opinion » Editorials » Editorial: Contract impasse not good medicine

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Editorial: It’s early in the session, but inaction on ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: Lawmakers, so ... From the Editorial Board: Lawmakers, so far, have done little to nothing on attracting private-sector companies in pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and PPE; aerospace; microelectronics; ...
2
Editorial: Will free K-12 lunches just end up in ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: Free ... From the Editorial Board: Free lunches can help address child hunger and nutrition, if they don't end up in the waste bin.
3
Editorial: Professionals don’t drink on the job
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: If state ... From the Editorial Board: If state lawmakers want to be a professional Legislature, they can start by being sober on the job.
4
Editorial: Wait, did we just spend $3.8M on 'trash' ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: Taxpayers deserve ... From the Editorial Board: Taxpayers deserve to know when their elected officials spend millions of dollars on public safety, it delivers for our deputies ...
5
Editorial: Remember there are 2 sides to increases in ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: Lawmakers and ... From the Editorial Board: Lawmakers and the governor should seriously consider the impact of bills that would raise the minimum wage.
6
Editorial: NM can’t afford to go backward on government ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: The Inspection ... From the Editorial Board: The Inspection of Public Records Act has a presumption that citizens are entitled to the greatest possible amount of information ...
7
Editorial: NM lands need a state 'legacy fund,' true ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: A healthy ... From the Editorial Board: A healthy outdoors is a healthy part of New Mexico's fiscal landscape, so the chance to unlock federal matching funds ...
8
Editorial: Legislative package has sensible measures to address rampant ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: When you ... From the Editorial Board: When you get a Democratic governor, Republican and Democratic lawmakers, the Albuquerque police chief, the district attorney and the attorney ...
9
Editorial: How useful is the Arnold tool?
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: New Mexicans ... From the Editorial Board: New Mexicans still waiting for fair and uniform pretrial release determination system.