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The saga ends — UnitedHealthcare to terminate Envision contract

UnitedHealthcare will terminate its contract with Envision Healthcare and Envision subsidiaries, effective no later than Jan. 1, 2019, according to a court filing.

Here's what you should know.

1. UnitedHealthcare is asking the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida to force Envision into arbitration to settle pending suits. The companies have been in a legal battle since March. Envision sued UnitedHealth over allegations the payer violated a contract by refusing to add Envision physicians to its network, and lowering negotiated payment rates. UnitedHealth objected to the allegations.

2. In a response to Envision's lawsuit, UnitedHealth alleged Envision engaged in egregious billing practices and had "engaged in an improper game of hide-the-ball" to increase profits.

3. Specifically, UnitedHealth took issue with Envision using tactics to raise emergency room rates, so much so that UnitedHealth made a website smearing Envision's ER billing practices.

4. Envision issued a statement on the matter. 

"From our perspective, these are two separate issues that United has chosen to combine to distract from the original breach of contract complaint. Regarding the litigation, as stated in our complaint, United Healthcare is in breach of contract by failing to recognize Envision medical providers, unfairly adjusting rates it pays Envision and refusing to comply with the contract’s process for handling disputes. This is the next step after multiple attempts to resolve the situation. We are asking the courts to hold United accountable for its contractual agreements and obligations under terms of the contract they signed.

Regarding the separate issue of future contracting with United Healthcare, as we publicly declared earlier this year, Envision Healthcare’s goal is to be in-network with as many payors as possible. As physicians and caregivers, we care for millions of emergency medicine patients across 45 states. Our focus is on taking care of patients. With that said, we hope to come to an agreement for 2019 and beyond that provides for fair and reasonable reimbursement for the care we provide to patients."

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