UnitedHealth warns hospitals it may drop Envision ER physicians from network

UnitedHealthcare sent letters to more than 250 hospitals Sept. 21 warning them it may drop Nashville, Tenn.-based Envision Healthcare from its network starting next year, according to CNBC.

Here are five things to know:

1. Negotiations between UnitedHealthcare and Envision, the nation's largest provider of emergency room physicians, have reached an impasse after about a year of discussions. If the two are unable to reach an agreement before Jan. 1, Envision will no longer be in the insurer's network, affecting more than 1 million of United's members across the nation.

2. UnitedHealthcare was ready to terminate its contract with Envision in April, and negotiations between the two companies have been fruitless.

3. UnitedHealthcare blamed Envision for the contract impasse. "You know better than most how Envision's rates are driving up the cost of healthcare for the people we all serve," Dan Rosenthal, president and CEO of UnitedHealthcare Networks, said in the letter mailed to hospitals. "We sincerely believe we have made a fair and reasonable offer with the goal of continuing Envision's participation in our networks for the benefit of patients at your hospital and the customers we serve."

4. Envision said it has been negotiating in good faith and criticized UnitedHealthcare for sending the notice to hospitals. "There were never any problems until now, when United demanded massive cuts to allow us to stay in network," an Envision spokesperson told CNBC. "We have offered United a solution that helps with the affordability of healthcare, and yet United is making egregious demands that will force all of our physicians out of network."

5. Negotiations between UnitedHealthcare and Envision will continue until year-end. In the meantime, hospitals will have to decide whether to stick with Envision or explore contracts with other providers who would be in UnitedHealthcare's network, according to CNBC.

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