A contract dispute between a major hospital operator and a health care coalition in Southern Nevada could affect more than 275,000 people.
Health Services Coalition, which negotiates health plans for about 20 labor groups and employers in Nevada, said Friday that talks were ongoing with Hospital Corporation of America, the operator of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center and MountainView Hospital.
The two parties are trying to negotiate a three- or four-year contract, according to the coalition. They’re operating on an extended contract that expires at midnight Feb. 29.
The groups met Wednesday but couldn’t come to an agreement; another meeting is scheduled for Feb. 22. If negotiations were to fail, coalition members would lose in-network access to the three hospitals and four surgical clinics in Southern Nevada.
HSC represents member organizations including the Culinary Health Fund, Clark County and Las Vegas firefighters, Metropolitan Police Department employees’ Health and Welfare Trust, Boyd Gaming Corp. and Caesars Entertainment Corp.
Coalition Co-chairwoman Stacie Sasso said HCA wants to increase rates for access to their medical facilities but declined to provide additional details.
“Historically, we’ve had trouble with the increases they’re requesting,” she said.
She added that a request to extend negotiations past Feb. 29 was denied by the hospital operator.
In a news release last week, the coalition blasted the Nashville, Tenn.-based hospital group for “siphoning” money paid by local families out of the state.
HCA responded by saying it already agreed to an extension past an original Jan. 31 contract deadline and said any implication HCA isn’t proud to serve the coalition’s members is “unnecessarily disparaging.”
“In recent years we have had no issue contracting with the coalition for their members. Quite frankly, we were disappointed in the misinformation provided in their press release,” said Rob Dyer, senior vice president of strategy and development for HCA’s Far West Division.
The coalition has begun informing member organizations of the negotiation issues, and a demonstration is planned for sometime later this month at Sunrise.
Sasso said she’s unsure if negotiations will be resolved by the cutoff.
“Our main goal is to make sure that we have a contract or an extension past the deadline,” she said.
— Contact Pashtana Usufzy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4563. Find her on Twitter: @pashtana_u