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St. Peter’s, CDPHP come to an agreement after Capital Region healthcare standoff

CDPHP and St. Peter’s Health Partners are in the midst of contract renewal negotiations.
Dave Lucas / WAMC
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CDPHP and St. Peter’s Health Partners are in the midst of contract renewal negotiations.

Contract negotiations between two major regional health care companies have concluded.

An agreement has been reached between health insurer CDPHP and St. Peter’s Health Partners and parent company Trinity Health.

CDPHP spokeswoman Ali Skinner says the agreement, which became effective December 3rd, guarantees members continued access to the hospital’s facilities and providers.

"We're really happy that both parties were able to come together to reach a fair and equitable agreement, avoiding any disruption in care for our members and their patients," said Skinner. "I also think it's very important for folks to understand, particularly for our Medicare members in our community, that there are two more days through December 7th to enroll in Medicare coverage through CDPHP. I know that was a very big point of angst for our seniors in our community as the Medicare annual enrollment period coming to a close on December 7th. Also just want to mention I think it's a very important for folks to know, anybody who may have switched plans away from CDPHP due to the uncertainty, our Medicare members have the ability to come back to us during What's called the OEP season and that is from January 1st through March 31st. Those Medicare members have the opportunity to re-enroll and switch plans back to CDPHP.”

CDPHP acknowledges many customers may have received letters from St. Peter’s saying customers “should” seek out new care coverage. During negotiations, St. Peter's Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Steven Hanks told WAMC the angst among patients was understandable.

“We've had an incredible inflation in the cost of the care delivery, primarily driven by the overall general rate of inflation of all goods and services, but in particular for us, in health care labor costs," said Hanks. "Nursing base wages are up over 20% in the last year. Premium incentive payment is up, it's more than double what it was a year ago. Staff shortages are critical in all of our hospitals, and we're relying on expensive agency nurses in critical areas to keep critical services available. Those rates have increased 300% in one year. So add to that the fact that we also have critical shortages in some critical physician specialties, and this just isn't a St. Peter's issue, or an Albany issue. This is a nationwide issue.”

Hanks added “The reality is the community needs both St. Peter's Health Partners and CDPHP.”

Established in 1984, CDPHP says it has 390,000 members in 29 counties throughout New York.

St. Peter’s Health Partners was created in 2011 by the merger of Northeast Health, St. Peter’s Health Care Services and Seton Health. The merger created the region’s largest health network, with nearly 12,500 employees in more than 165 locations.

CDPHP says the new contract agreement with the hospital will take effect on January 1st and there will be no disruption in care.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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