Affordable Care Will Mean a Trip for Derry Residents

Parkland Medical Center and its sister hospital, Portsmouth Regional Hospital, are part of a dozen New Hampshire hospitals that will not be included in the “network” for an Affordable Care Act program to serve uninsured people.
Anthem Blue Cross officials told the state legislature this week that a dozen hospitals, including Parkland, will not be part of the program, which is administered by Anthem in New Hampshire.
The company said in a press release, “Anthem is choosing to offer this select network of providers to offset the premium increase that would otherwise be necessary.” Anthem officials claim that using its “select network” will save participants about 25 percent.
But only, in Derry’s case, if they go out of town.
Nancy Notis, associate director of marketing and community relations for Parkland and Portsmouth Regional, said in a phone interview, “We are disappointed that we were not chosen.”
At press time Notis said she had limited information as to what the criteria was and why the two hospitals were excluded from the network.
“We have always had a positive relationship with Anthem and will continue to offer Anthem products,” Notis said.
She is not certain if her company, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) will appeal Anthem’s decision. “We are still evaluating the impact,” she said.
Notis provided this written statement on behalf of Parkland, Portsmouth and the Appledore Medical Group, all of which are owned by HCA:
“We are disappointed that we were not chosen to serve patients who will get individual health insurance through exchanges under the Affordable Care Act beginning Jan.1, 2014. Even with this, patients needing emergent care will still be able to be treated in our emergency rooms.”

Notis continued, “We have a positive relationship with Anthem and will continue to offer other Anthem products as well as work with many insurance providers operating in New Hampshire.”
Notis said about 40 percent of New Hampshire hospitals were excluded from the Anthem decision.
And she concluded, “We take very seriously our commitment to providing quality healthcare and will continue to evaluate the impact of this decision on the patients we serve.”
Derry Town Councilor and former State Representative Phyllis Katsakiores expressed dismay about the decision.
“I read about it and I said, ‘Whoa – that’s going to be tough. It will affect a lot of people in this town.”
Most of the people he knows use Parkland, State Rep. Bob Fesh, R-Derry, said.
State Rep Jim Webb, R-Derry, said if Parkland and Portsmouth were excluded because they were privately owned, that wasn’t fair. “They pay taxes, they employ people,” Webb said. “If they stand to lose anything from this, I don’t like the idea.”
“If it’s a life-or-death matter and they go to another hospital, what if the nearest hospital – Elliot or Catholic Medical Center – is already overflowing?” Webb asked.
“This is going to hurt people,” Webb said.