Forum held to address ARH/Coventry Care

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

It is a dilemma that could leave thousands without local health care and hundreds of employees without jobs.

The clock is ticking and officials with Appalachian Regional Healthcare and Conventry Care have a little more than 72 hours to resolve their differences.

A forum was held in Harlan Tuesday afternoon with ARH officials and eastern Kentucky leaders about the issue.

ARH attorneys are filing a motion for a temporary injunction against Coventry, asking the judge to maintain coverage for patients at ARH past Friday.

Leaders in Harlan say this is just the beginning of a healthcare battle that has 25,000 people caught in the middle.

State Senator Brandon Smith told the room full of Harlan leaders he gets calls every day from sick people who say they need ARH.

“A little boy has a brain injury prone to seizures. They’re telling him now he can no longer go to the doctor he's seen since he was three,” Senator Smith said.

ARH officials say many with serious health problems will have to drive an hour for medical care if the Coventry Cares agreement is terminated.

“They don’t know how they're going to get where they need for care. Some of them don’t have automobiles. It’s tragic!” Rick King Chief Legal Officer for ARH.

ARH officials say it also puts employee’s jobs in jeopardy with fewer patients.

It is going to force us to loom at layoffs, reduction of services.

In a letter, Coventry Care officials blame state government claiming they want all MCOs treated equally.

“It has turned into a debacle and a lot of people in my district are caught in the middle of this,” Senator Smith said.

No one from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services was at the meeting to answer questions due to the pending lawsuit.

“We're going to take thus battle to Frankfort,” Senator Smith said.

Patients do not know if it will be resolved in time for them.
Senator Smith is organizing a rally in Frankfort for Monday.
He says it will start at noon at the Capitol steps.

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