Saturday, May 26, 2018
Health

Tampa Bay leaders speak out about dispute between BayCare, UHealthcare

CLEARWATER — An ongoing dispute between Tampa Bay's biggest hospital group and one of its biggest health insurers has drawn the ire of the region's government and business leaders.

At a news conference Friday, the leaders urged BayCare Health System and UnitedHealthcare to resolve their differences and avoid having policy holders pay more out of pocket for treatment.

Contract talks between the two companies ended late last month without an agreement. The resulting showdown has left nearly half a million people in the bay area, including many government employees, with only limited access to BayCare hospitals.

BayCare says United owes it $11 million in unpaid claims and needs to increase its reimbursement rates, or else its Medicare Advantage customers can't use some of the area's most popular hospitals.

United says BayCare is throwing its weight around to win contract concessions that will only increase costs to consumers.

"Both UnitedHealthcare and BayCare need to take a look at what impact this is going to have on more than 400,000 people in the bay area," said Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, who likened the impasse to the "fiscal cliff" talks going on among congressional leaders in Washington, D.C.

"The impact is real, and it's totally avoidable," Welch said. "Both sides see what's coming, but it's really an act of political gamesmanship."

At Friday's news conference — which was also attended by Pinellas Commissioners Janet Long and Karen Seel, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and several other elected leaders — officials implored the two sides to adhere to a set of principles that include putting aside "purely selfish interests" and exercising corporate responsibility.

With the impasse stretching for nearly two weeks now, the effects are already being felt by thousands of United patients, who are having to pay much more for health care as they seek treatment from out-of-network providers.

They also can no longer use BayCare facilities, including St. Anthony's, St. Joseph's, Morton Plant and Mease hospitals. Patients can still use emergency facilities at those hospitals, which are open to all under federal law.

If the two sides don't come to an agreement soon, Pinellas County leaders say they will have to explore working with other health insurance providers.

"I'm hopeful," Welch said. "It would seem to be the common sense thing to do. I think both organizations can do a lot of damage to their brand."

Comments
Stroke stories can have a happy ending: What you should know

Stroke stories can have a happy ending: What you should know

Arto Woods and his wife, Syvilla, had a good flight from Baltimore to Tampa in early May. En route, they talked about how convenient it would have been to fly directly into Orlando, where the conference that brought them to Florida was being held, bu...
Published: 05/25/18
Finding a yoga retreat to stretch the mind and body

Finding a yoga retreat to stretch the mind and body

Before I attended my first yoga retreat on a trip to see my sister in Oregon, I did exactly zero preparation. Turns out, that’s just fine, and it opened up the wider world of what a yoga getaway can give you.With four hours of yoga classes a day, my ...
Published: 05/25/18
Music makes us happy, motivated, determined … and hungry?

Music makes us happy, motivated, determined … and hungry?

Music is the ultimate mood setter. Faster beats gets us pumped up to work out. A slower rhythm can set a romantic mood or help one unwind at the end of a long day.Music can also influence the kinds of food we crave. A study co-authored by a Universit...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Estimated 7,000 bodies may be buried at former asylum

Estimated 7,000 bodies may be buried at former asylum

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Some of the boxes stacked inside anthropologist Molly Zuckerman’s laboratory contain full bones — a skull, a jaw, or a leg. Others contain only plastic bags of bone fragments that Zuckerman describes as "grit." These humble remain...
Published: 05/23/18
FDA warns teething medicines are unsafe for babies

FDA warns teething medicines are unsafe for babies

WASHINGTON — Federal health officials warned parents Wednesday about the dangers of teething remedies that contain a popular numbing ingredient and asked manufacturers to stop selling their products intended for babies and toddlers. The Food and Drug...
Published: 05/23/18
A chronic lack of sleep could lead to decreased brain function, study finds

A chronic lack of sleep could lead to decreased brain function, study finds

A sleep study revealed that less than six hours of sleep a day can limit the brain’s ability to function properly.The study, published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that people experiencing less than...
Published: 05/23/18
Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Many cancer patients juggle care along with financial pain

Josephine Rizo survived chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, but breast cancer treatment wrecked her finances.Money was already tight when doctors told the Phoenix resident she had an aggressive form of the disease. Then she took a pay cut after goin...
Published: 05/22/18

Hernando County officials gather to remedy ‘dearth of services’ for youth with mental illness

BROOKSVILLE — Educators, court officials, law enforcement officers and health care professionals met Friday to identify the best ways to keep local youth with mental illnesses out of the court system and provide treatment for those already in the sys...
Published: 05/22/18
Give your arms a workout, too

Give your arms a workout, too

In addition to appearance, it is very important to maintain strength in those arms, as they are needed for practically every upper body movement we perform. We often take our 23 arm muscles for granted, until we reach a point where it suddenly become...
Published: 05/22/18
Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Intermittent fasting seems to be a good thing, new report suggests

Going long hours without eating isn’t good for us, we are often told. Our bodies need fuel regularly. Otherwise, we may become lethargic, tired and hungry. Our thinking can become mushy, our ability to work, and even play, hampered.Not so fast.A new ...
Published: 05/22/18