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Saint Clare's, Aetna Reach Agreement on New Contract


05/11/2007

After months of negotiations, especially intensive negotiations over the past two weeks, Saint Clare's Hospital and Aetna have reached an agreement on a new, multi-year network contract. Network status has been reinstated for all Saint Clare's Hospitals, and affiliated physicians, effective retroactively to May 1. This ensures that all services rendered after April 30 will be considered "in-network" and all Aetna members who sought non-emergency care at Saint Clare's Hospitals, from the time the old contract expired on April 30, 2007 through today, will not be charged an additional copay or coinsurance amount for out-of-network care. Contracts with Aetna network physicians who admit exclusively to Saint Clare's hospitals have also been reinstated so there will be no break in the patient-physician relationship.

"In every facet of our operations, the well-being of our patients and their families is of paramount importance in everything we do. We regret the inconvenience caused to Saint Clare's patients and physicians in recent weeks, but are pleased that Aetna has joined us in formulating what we believe is a fair and equitable agreement for all involved," said David Lundquist, COO of Saint Clare's Health System. "Our primary responsibility is to provide access to the highest levels of medical care and technology to our entire patient population. We are pleased that we could agree on a network contract that allows both organizations to focus their attention on serving their mutual customers."

"We look forward to a new spirit of collaboration with Saint Clare's where we do not just get together when it is time to  negotiate a new contract, but work together throughout the year to improve the quality of health care for our members, patients and local communities," said Barb Sciro, Aetna's network market head in Northern New Jersey. "Despite our differences, the parties listened closely to each other's needs, ultimately allowing us to come together on a new contract  that balances appropriate reimbursement with the need to keep health care affordable. I am proud to say I believe our new relationship will be characterized by this spirit of collaboration going forward."

Saint Clare's Health System, which has served the healthcare needs of northwestern New Jersey residents since 1895, is the region's premier provider of community-based healthcare and behavioral health services. Saint Clare's operates hospitals in Boonton Township, Denville, Dover and Sussex Borough and other facilities located throughout Morris and Sussex counties.

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 34.9 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life, long-term care and disability plans, and medical management capabilities. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans and government-sponsored plans. www.aetna.com.

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