UAB Health CEO on UnitedHealthcare amid dispute: Make $9B, but not on the backs of patients

The CEO of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System criticized UnitedHealthcare's profits amid tense contract negotiations between the two organizations, according to local news station WBRC.

Starting July 31, nearly 25,000 UnitedHealthcare members could lose in-network access to UAB Health if a compromise isn't reached. While UAB Health argues UnitedHealthcare is requesting rates similar to less comprehensive providers in Alabama, UnitedHealthcare says UAB Health's prices are too high. 

UAB Health CEO Will Ferniany, PhD, accused the health insurer of pursuing profits over patient care. 

"I believe they are putting profit, their $9 billion company, over the good of the patients. We treat the patients. We see the patients, and this is doing a lot of harm to patients. We need to get this settled," Dr. Ferniany told WBRC. "If you can make nine billion dollars, you shouldn't make it on the backs of patients."

In a statement to WBRC, UnitedHealthcare disagreed: "Despite repeated efforts to reach a compromise, UAB has decided to put Alabama residents square in the middle of this dispute. This is unfortunate and completely avoidable," a company spokesperson said.

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