Some pregnant women in Bell County might have to change doctors and drive nearly an hour for care just weeks before their babies are due.
Officials say Coventry Cares is terminating its contract with ARH next month, which means patients have to find new doctors.
Amanda Asher is 34 weeks pregnant and experiencing complications. Now just six weeks before her due date, the Coventry Cares insurance patient has to leave her doctor at Middlesboro ARH.
"It's very stressful. You lay and wonder and it's not healthy for the baby either for you to be so stressed out," said Asher.
Coventry Cares is one of the companies paid to manage Kentucky Medicaid patients.
ARH officials say Coventry told them they were terminating the contract with ARH on May 4th. Coventry claims they were forced to until Kentucky treats all MCOs equally.
This means patients like Asher and Rebecca Smith, who is seven months pregnant with high blood pressure, will have to drive to Corbin for obstetrician services.
"It's really hard once you get used to a doctor having to switch to another one," said Smith.
"It's not fair that I have to switch my doctor in my 8th month and drive 30-40 miles out of the way," said Asher.
The women say this not only affects their health, but also their pocketbook.
"I find myself laying awake at night worrying, am I going to get the gas money to go to this doctor," said Smith, whose husband is on disability and she works part-time.
Asher says her husband was recently laid off from his job.
The women say they will have to make the the drive because the situation with ARH and Coventry Cares will not be resolved before their babies arrive.
Dr. Nathan Mullins, OB-GYN who works at Middlesboro ARH, says, "You form a bond with your patient, and now I feel that bond is being ripped apart." He also says, "The people I see suffering the most are our patients."
ARH has filed a federal lawsuit against Coventry Cares alleging they have not paid claims promptly.
Coventry Cares officials have called the lawsuit "baseless" and "counterproductive."
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