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Health providers not paid: Agencies impacted and suppliers not delivering

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- Local 12's investigation into home health care workers not getting paid by insurance companies has taken another turn.

The crisis has now extended to suppliers.  Local 12 News learned a major health care supplier said it will stop deliveries until it too got insurance payments.  Many independent providers have not been seen a paycheck since June 1, after the state changed from paying the bills itself to having insurance companies run the program.  And for some agencies it was the same problem.

Amenity is a 10-year-old company with 49 employees.   The operators said they were owed some $200,000 by Aetna insurance.  So far, owners Patti Carter and Deb Wriston absorbed the costs themselves, so their workers did not see pay cuts.

Carter said, "I don't just look at them and see them.  They've got kids and grand-kids.  It gets to me real hard.  It's not just them.  They're single ladies with kids.  They're ladies with grand-kids.  It's ridiculous what's going on."

To make things even worse, businesses like Amenity used to be able to file electronic claims for free.  They now have to pay a fee to file electronically and that means more money out of their pockets

Wriston said, "We knew this was going to be a disaster. Billing used to be so easy through the passport program. Now it's become onerous."

One thing Local 12 kept hearing from the independent providers was, "What will this mean for my patients if I have to quit?"  It was the same worry for agency employees who have patients too.

Amenity employee Patti Waddell said, "It's hard.  It's really hard when you look in their faces or you hear their voices trembling on the phone.  They don't know what's going to happen.  They're afraid they're going to be placed in a nursing home."

Another major problem has become major home care suppliers must stop deliveries of things like adult diapers or other home care products because, "We have not received payment on these from Aetna or Molina, the insurance companies."
The owners of Amenity figured they can hold out for a couple of months.  If there's still no pay by then, they'll have to stop paying for employee health insurance; quite ironic for a health care agency.  One thing Amenity employees have going for them, the owners will fight as hard as they can to keep the company alive.

Friday, Local 12 heard from two other health care agencies that have not received insurance payments.  Aetna was one of the companies behind on issuing the checks.  They told Local 12 they were working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

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