The state Health Department today said it will monitor the refusal of Westchester Medical Center to accept patients under the Affordable Care Act.
The Journal News reported Sunday that the massive health network is not allowing residents who signed up for health insurance through the state’s exchange to get care. The hospital is not accepting any coverage offered through the exchange in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam.
The hospital said the insurance exchange reimbursements were too low to cover the costs of the services.
“We want to participate,” CEO Michael Israel said told the paper. “We have not been offered rates that we can live with.”
Health Commissioner Nirav Shah said the health department will review the matter.
“We are absolutely monitoring that,” Shah said at a legislative hearing.
He said that “for trauma services, in an emergency situation, they would be covered.”
Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Greenburgh, Westchester County, questioned whether Shah’s claims were accurate and implored the state to look closely at Westchester’s decision.
“What is your department doing, intervening? What are you doing?” Abinanti said.
Shah said the state would continue to look into it.
Dennis Whalen, president of the Healthcare Association of New York, said each hospital has to make a determination on its costs and benefits from the health exchange.
“The rates being offered to them were insufficient,” Whalen testified. “The dilemma, of course, is that they are one of those places that provide some of those services that we rely on to be there and to be essential.”
Whalen added that, “We’ll talk to the hospital, as well, to see what the fact patterns are. A little bit depends on who is in the network. I think the state deserves great credit for getting the exchange up and operating smoothly. But now is also the time, that it’s doing well, to start to take a look at some of the policy issues that are raised as a result of it now being underway.”