AUGUSTA – Senator Troy Jackson was on hand today at the State Employee Health Commission (SEHC) meeting to advocate for the re-opening of the state employees preferred hospital list. The decision is significant for Aroostook County, because the Cary Medical Center in Caribou and Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent were left off the list that was released back in July.
Senator Jackson urged support of the two hospitals and for the Commission’s consideration to re-open the list.
“Both hospitals provide quality care for the people of Aroostook County,” said Jackson. “Right now, some people will be forced to travel over 100 miles for health care because of the Commission’s initial decision.”
The Commission uses industry quality data and financial incentives to improve care and reduce long-term costs to the state’s insurance plan. The ratings for hospitals are based on a variety of criteria, from patient safety and clinical care to feedback from former patients.
The Commission uses this data to improve the quality of care for Maine patients and reduce the number of expensive and avoidable problems, complications, and re-admissions.
Following discussion on Thursday, the SEHC voted in favor of opening the list back up for hospitals that were not placed with preferred hospital status. This will allow an opportunity for Cary Medical Center and Northern Maine Medical Center to make a proposal for re-admission to the preferred hospital list.
If the two hospitals are placed back on the preferred list on September 1, 2012, the Commission stated that deductibles paid during this period would be retroactive to July 1, 2012. Right now, because they are not on the preferred hospital list, state employees requiring emergency care at these hospitals would experience an increase of their deductible from $200 to $1,800.
“I applaud the Commission’s decision,” added Jackson. “These two hospitals are vital to the health and economy of northern Maine.”
The SEHC provides coverage to 34,000 state employees and family members statewide.