Hospitals in Maine are hurting financially. Reimbursements are down, accounts receivable are up, particularly from the state, which still owes Maine hospitals millions of dollars for services already provided to thousands of patients and unpaid for years.

Unfortunately, the population of Maine has not been increasing, and lucrative services have declined. To attract insured patients from this stable population, the most legitimate and ethical means is to improve quality and access to care within your region.

Unable to do that, Maine Health is attempting to coerce the state into approving an insurance plan that will force patients to avoid high quality medical care close to home and to travel to Maine Health facilities to avoid insurance penalties that otherwise could amount to thousands of dollars billed to them for out-of-network care.

Maine representatives and justices should be acting in a fiduciary capacity to ensure the welfare of all the state’s citizens. They should understand that the Maine Health-Anthem plan is a backhanded attempt to leverage the care of patients and to debilitate those hospitals that remain independent from the ever-expanding control of Maine Health.

Pure and simple, it is an attempt to create a health care monopoly in Maine.

If they cannot attract the entire patient population by providing higher quality care, or by geography, they will try to do it by economic leverage, to the detriment of local hospitals in Lewiston-Auburn, Bridgton, Brunswick and Rumford.

William Phillips, MD, FACC, Lewiston, Director of Cardiology, Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute

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