Murphy: “I’m here because it’s a big deal. I’m here because it’s important to all of our clinicians.”
TeamHealth CEO Leif Murphy took the stand this week in the company’s ongoing trial against UnitedHealthcare in Nevada. The plaintiffs allege that United grossly underpaid more than 11,000 claims by $10.5 million for emergency care provided by three of TeamHealth’s Nevada-based affiliates. On the stand, TeamHealth CEO Leif Murphy explained why the organization is taking United to court on behalf of heroic frontline healthcare providers who need fair reimbursement from large insurers to ensure the lifesaving care they provide.
“I’m here because it’s a big deal. I’m here because it’s important to all of our clinicians,” said TeamHealth CEO Leif Murphy. “I’m here because we need to collect the unpaid balance for United’s claims. And I think it sets a precedent for insurance across the United States.”
TeamHealth’s more than 15,000 clinicians provide lifesaving care every day to patients in emergencies, including natural disasters and mass casualty events, in hospitals across the country “Together, we’re doing meaningful work: we care for our neighbors when they are at their most vulnerable; we save countless lives daily; we put our lives at risk at the front-line of the COVID pandemic, and we are the safety net for the uninsured,” said Murphy in a recent companywide letter.
Murphy also reaffirmed TeamHealth’s longstanding policy against balance billing patients, despite United’s refusal to reimburse TeamHealth’s clinicians for the total cost of emergency care. Instead, TeamHealth has taken United to court to protect patients and the doctors that care for them, “It’s been a longstanding policy for us on not balance billing patients, and there are a variety of reasons. One is patients can’t afford it … And quite frankly, United collected the premiums from these patients, and they underpaid the bill, so we’re here to collect that balance.”
The trial has larger ramifications for frontline emergency care. During direct contract negotiations with UnitedHealth Group Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Dan Schumacher, Murphy warned that United’s policy of lowering reimbursements would have a devastating effect on access to critical emergency care, “I was very clear with Mr. Schumacher that reductions in payment were ultimately going to reduce the pay that went to physicians and that it would also be impossible for rural and smaller hospitals to be able to subsidize physician pay given their payer mechanics.” According to Murphy’s testimony, Schumacher responded that many hospitals needed to close and physician pay needed to come down.
TeamHealth’s more than 15,000 clinicians continue to watch the trial closely. At stake is the very ability of heroic frontline healthcare providers to get necessary reimbursements from large profitable insurers to cover the cost of the lifesaving care they provide. For more details, see ProtectingOurHealthcareHeroes.com. To watch the proceedings in real-time, tune in to the livestream (Meeting ID: 541 907 772) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Pacific Time).
At TeamHealth, our purpose is to perfect the practice of medicine, every day, in everything we do. We are proud to be the leading physician practice in the U.S., driven by our commitment to quality and safety and supported by our world-class operating team. To improve the experience of our physicians and advanced practice clinicians, we empower clinicians to act on what they believe is right, free clinicians from distractions so they can focus on patient care, invest in learning and development to promote growth in the clinical field and foster an environment where continuous improvement is a shared priority. Through our more than 15,000 affiliated healthcare professionals and advanced practice clinicians, TeamHealth offers emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care, anesthesiology, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, obstetrics, ambulatory care, post-acute care and medical call center solutions to approximately 2,900 acute and post-acute facilities and physician groups nationwide. Join our team; we value and empower clinicians. Partner with us; we deliver on our promises. Learn more at www.teamhealth.com.
The term “TeamHealth” as used throughout this release includes Team Health Holdings, Inc., its subsidiaries, affiliates, affiliated medical groups and providers, all of which are part of the TeamHealth organization. “Providers” are physicians, advanced practice clinicians and other healthcare providers who are employed by or contract with subsidiaries or affiliated entities of Team Health Holdings, Inc. All such providers exercise independent clinical judgment when providing patient care. Team Health Holdings, Inc., does not have any employees, does not contract with providers and does not practice medicine.
The collective term “United” as used throughout this release references defendants, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company (“UHIC”), United HealthCare Services, Inc. (“UHS”), UMR, Inc. (“UMR”), Sierra Health and Life Insurance Co., Inc. (“SHL”), and Health Plan of Nevada, Inc. (“HPN”).
Case name is Fremont Emergency Services (Mandavia), et al. vs. UnitedHealth Group, Inc et al. Case number is A-19-792978-B.