United Healthcare and the nationals

 - 
09/01/2011

Two providers, now, have asked me whether United Healthcare, as part of its new clinical policies for testing and treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea, has contracted with four national providers to provide APAP devices.

It appears, yes...and no.

I haven't talked to anyone at United Healthcare (and I doubt I'd get anywhere if I tried), but I do have a copy of the bulletin it sent out to its physicians notifying them of the new policies and its contract with VirtuOx to perform home sleep tests.

The bulletin states: "United Healthcare currently has several nationally and locally contracted vendors that can provide APAP devices. The nationally contracted providers for APAP are Lincare (www.lincare.com), American HomePatient (www.ahom.com), Walgreens (www.walgreenshealth.com), and Rotech (www.rotech.com)."

(Walgreens? APAP devices? Let's save that for another blog.)

I added the emphasis on several and locally. This, to me and to at least one other provider I talked to who's managed to remain semi-rational in this increasingly "preferred provider" environment, means that United Healthcare has not cut its ties with local providers. Maybe it was just unrealistic to list them all in the bulletin.

This, of course, doesn't take away that it gave some prime real estate to the nationals.

But I would think if you're a local provider and you have solid relationships with your referring physicians, it doesn't matter. If physicians continue to have a choice of their provider for APAP devices, and it sounds like they do, they're going to stick with you, providing they're happy and satisfied.

They're happy and satisfied, right?

Liz Beaulieu