Milwaukee County's audit department has recommended that the county drop its exclusive provider plan with 14-hospital Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, saying the model gives Aurora no economic incentive to keep costs down. The county offers three health plans, including the exclusive provider plan with Aurora and a PPO that includes Aurora facilities. The audit department, concerned about the prices received by its PPO, also urged the county to adopt a negotiating stance of walking away from high-cost providers. Aurora accounts for 39.5% of hospital charges in the county's conventional plans but represents 47.2% of payments, the department said. Hospital charges are the largest component of rising healthcare costs for the county, said Douglas Jenkins, the department's deputy director. An Aurora spokesman said, "All contracts are negotiable, but we do offer a competitive discount already." County officials are meeting July 22 to discuss the recommendations. -- by Susanna Moon
Milwaukee County urged to end deal with Aurora
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