Pratt Faculty Potentially Lose Hundreds of Doctors and Several Major Hospitals

Dear Pratt colleagues,

The UFCT would like to submit the following letter, inclusive of all faculty and administrators covered by AETNA, to AETNA expressing our displeasure at their failed negotiations with Continuum.  If you would like to have your name added to the letter, please reply with your full name and title to Suzanne Verderber, UFCT 1460 Vice President, at sverderb@pratt.edu, by July 14, 2010.

Sincerely,

The UFCT 1460 Executive Committee and Grievance Team.

Ronald A. Williams

Chairman and Chief Executive, Aetna Inc.

Hartford, CT 06156

June 26, 2010

Dear Mr. Williams,

We the undersigned are faculty members and administrators at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. The Pratt administration has chosen to subscribe to Aetna for health coverage, a situation over which we, the undersigned, have minimal control.

We were shocked and dismayed to receive notification from our Human Resources office on June 16, 2010 that Aetna and Continuum failed to renew their contract over the issue of reimbursement rates, directly affecting most of us who have, over the years, established relationships with physicians at the various major hospitals in our area that are now “out of network”: Beth Israel, Long Island College Hospital, Saint Luke’s, and New York Ear and Eye Infirmary. As medical consumers, we have been told time and time again that the most effective medical care can be achieved by establishing relationships with our doctors so that valuable time and money is not wasted bringing new doctors up to speed on our conditions,and so that our doctors gain, over time, a more accurate overview of our health. Unfortunately, this event seems to be a culmination of a long-term trend wherein doctor after doctor finds that it is no longer “worth it” to be part of Aetna’s network because Aetna’s reimbursement rates are so low.

We find it callous and irresponsible that Aetna has chosen to destroy these relationships between doctor and patient due to its refusal to meet the reimbursement demands of the medical practitioners who are part of Continuum, disrupting the medical care of thousands in the New York area. Aetna’s own website states that its 2009 revenue was a shocking 39.679 billion dollars. Surely Aetna does not stand to suffer too much from reimbursing doctors at a reasonable level, as other insurance companies who deal with Continuum have managed to do.   We find it surprising that Aetna, a company that claims in its mission statement to be dedicated to helping people achieve “health and financial security” would cause us to lose access to our doctors, or to simply pay more by going out of network. Do you, Mr. Williams, have to go “out of network” to see the doctors of your choice? We wonder whether you are affected personally by this event.

As it stands, in the eyes of many of your customers who have little direct say over their patronage of Aetna, your company appears callous, unreasonable, and unconcerned with the health care of its customers. We will be sure to express these views to the decision-makers at our institution and make them public to the media.

Sincerely,