Some Nevada providers and elected officials are calling on state regulators to open a fresh investigation into the proposed $2.6 billion sale of Las Vegas-based Sierra Health Services to UnitedHealth Group in light of recent California regulatory actions.
UnitedHealth, Minnetonka, Minn., is facing up to $1.33 billion in fines in California related to thousands of claim violations stemming from its 2005 acquisition of PacifiCare. The Nevada State Medical Association, Clark County Medical Association, SEIU Nevada Nurses, Nevada Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley and others held a news conference in Las Vegas urging the U.S. Justice Department and the Nevada Attorney General to consider the California fines as it weighs the deal. It should be a red flag for Nevadas regulators and consumers to learn that this company is being pursued for $1.3 billion because of its broken promises to California residents, Buckley said. What can Nevada residents expect?
William Plested, immediate past president of the American Medical Association, called UnitedHealths practices abusive.
UnitedHealth has disclosed to investors and the public significant customer service problems in recent months, especially related to PacifiCare. UnitedHealth officials have said theyve fixed most of the problems and are working to resolve the rest.
Last Friday, Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons also raised the issue of the California fines to the U.S. Justice Department. Sierra Health is Nevadas largest insurer. The Nevada Insurance Commissioner approved the deal last September with several conditions, including that the deal close by Feb. 29, 2008. -- by Rebecca Vesely
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your letter to Modern Physician Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.