Updated March 22, 2024

An Update Regarding our Relationship with St. Bernards in Arkansas

It’s unfortunate that St. Bernards is unwilling to continue discussions and is refusing to work with us to reach an agreement that is affordable and in the best interests of families and employers in Arkansas.

Throughout our negotiation, St. Bernards has refused to provide a single formal proposal and has rejected multiple requests to extend our current contract, which would have allowed both organizations additional time to negotiate while avoiding any disruption to care for our members.

While we remain open and committed to continuing to engage in productive, good-faith discussions with St. Bernards, our primary focus at this time is ensuring that the members we serve have uninterrupted access to the care they need.

Despite months of repeated efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement with St. Bernards Healthcare Associated Regional Providers (SHARP) in Arkansas

As a result, SHARP’s physician hospital organization (PHO) is out-of-network for UnitedHealthcare members enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual commercial plans, Medicare Advantage and Group Retiree plans, as well as VA Community Care Network (VACCN) plans, effective March 1, 2024.

We have secured separate, direct contracts with several physicians affiliated with SHARP, to ensure that our members have continued, uninterrupted access to their existing providers

Our priority is to ensure the members and customers we serve in the Jonesboro region have access to the care they need through a robust network of providers.

We also continue to offer a broad network of providers and hospitals in the Jonesboro region, including:

  • NEA Baptist
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • ARCARE
  • 1st Choice Healthcare

Members have continued access to St. Bernards hospitals, which remain in-network at this time

Only the St. Bernards Healthcare Associated Regional Providers (SHARP) physician hospital organization (PHO) is out of network on March 1, 2024.

If we are unable to reach an agreement, the following hospitals will be out-of-network for members enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual commercial plans, as well as Medicare Advantage and Group Retiree plans:

  • Five Rivers Medical Center will be out of network, effective April 1, 2024.
  • St. Bernards Medical Center will be out of network, effective May 1, 2024.
  • Crossridge Community Hospital will be out of network, effective January 1, 2025.

For members with VA Community Care Network (VACCN) plans, Five Rivers Medical Center, St. Bernards Medical Center, and CrossRidge Community Hospital will be out of network, effective May 1, 2024.

Our goal is to reach an agreement with St. Bernards to ensure the customers and members we serve in Arkansas have access to affordable health care

We are disappointed that St. Bernards is unwilling to continue discussions or exchange contract proposals to renew our relationship.

Our network teams, in conjunction with provider relations and payment integrity teams, have been actively meeting with St. Bernards over the past several months to address and resolve open administrative, operational, claims, and policy issues and concerns.

Throughout our negotiation, we have submitted numerous proposals to St. Bernards and have requested an extension to avoid member disruption. To date, St. Bernards has refused to provide us with a single formal proposal and has rejected our multiple requests to extend our current contract, which would have allowed both organizations additional time to negotiate while avoiding any disruption to care for our members.

We urge St. Bernards to work with us to reach an agreement so that our members have continued access to St. Bernards’ hospitals and providers. 

We have created the following FAQs to ensure you and your family have the information needed regarding next steps as well as details to help meet your health care needs.

FAQs