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Tenet, Cigna reach new contract to end network dispute


Cigna Corp.’s commercial members still have in-network access to Tenet Healthcare Corp. facilities after the major insurer and hospital chain announced they had reached a multiyear contract deal on Jan. 1.

Contract negotiations had been stalled for almost a year, with both Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna and Dallas-based Tenet publicly blaming one another for the disagreement that threatened to leave Tenet’s hospitals, outpatient centers and employed physicians out-of-network for Cigna members. The previous contract ended Dec. 31, 2018.

Cigna launched a website dedicated to the dispute, while Tenet bought a full-page ad in a Massachusetts newspaper and submitted a letter to the editor to a Tennessee newspaper. Cigna officials said Tenet was insisting on a national contract that matched those of the other states it operates in instead of a state-based agreement, while Tenet said Cigna was demanding payment reductions.

In her letter to the Commercial Appeal newspaper published Dec. 2, Audrey Gregory, CEO of Tenet’s Memphis market, wrote that the health system had been trying to reach an agreement with Cigna since February.

“Cigna has had plenty of time to come to a mutually beneficial deal, but its unwillingness to propose a reasonable agreement will be detrimental to our patients’ access to care,” she wrote. “Cigna’s position is untenable as the contract Cigna has demanded would slash payment rates by millions.”

Neither Cigna nor Tenet shared specifics on the new contract, including its duration. Tenet spokeswoman Lesley Bogdanow said the contract does not apply to its providers in the Detroit area, as they have a separate contract with Cigna.

Tenet CEO Ron Rittenmeyer said in a statement the company is pleased to have reached a successful resolution.

“We believe this is the right outcome for our patients, employees and communities, and we look forward to continuing to serve Cigna members around the country today and in years to come,” he said.

Cigna’s website dedicated to the issue said Wednesday the company is pleased with the outcome and that its objective throughout negotiations has been keeping care affordable in local communities.

Cigna-HealthSpring Medicare Advantage plan members are also in network with Tenet under a separate contract.