Billy Guice has remarked that if someone in Singing River administration would have “manned up” a few years ago, the entire pension crisis could have been avoided. Just a few short months following his exit at SRHS, Chris Anderson did MAN up and executives and Singing River climbed right into bed with him.
In this case, MAN stands for Mississippi Affiliated Network, LLC. The group was formed with Chris Anderson as president and Evan Dillard of Forrest General as secretary. MAN is attempting to create a network of hospitals to work outside of networks controlled by the Blue Crosses and United Healthcares of the world.
SRHS Sends Funds to Anderson, MAN
For several months Singing River has been sending funds to MAN. This is with the full knowledge and approval of CEO Kevin Holland, CFO Lee Bond, and the Board of Trustees. The rapidity with which MAN was formed and SRHS’ joining the group shows that Singing River executives have never cut ties to Anderson. They likely have no intentions of doing so.
Ties to Vanderbilt, SRHS
MAN is modeled on the Vanderbilt Healthcare Affiliated Network (VHAN) and fingerprints of Vanderbilt are on the MAN deal. MAN doesn’t yet have a website, but msaffiliatednetwork.com domain name was purchased by VHAN. Singing River’s former VP of Clinical Integration Chris Morgan is now employed by VHAN.
Third Party Administrators
Large employers like Chevron and Ingalls don’t actually purchase health insurance for employees. With so many people enrolled in the health plan, it is more cost efficient for large employers to self-insure. The complexity of medical billing and reimbursement and legal requirements prevent employers from administering the plans themselves, so they hire outside companies to operate the health plan. These are known as “third-party administrators” or TPAs.
Once hired by an employer, TPAs negotiate with local doctors and hospitals for discounts, promising to send hundreds or thousands of patients in return.
MAN is trying to shift the power away from the middle-man TPAs to deal with employers directly. MAN would employ its own TPA and participating hospitals (and potentially employers) would use the services in an integrated manner.
Locally, many county and city employees have felt the effects of such a constrained network. Jackson County and the City of Pascagoula joined the “Premier Health” network operated by Singing River Health System. This network limits choices for providers to only those with privileges at Singing River. You want to have heart surgery at Ochsner or Providence? You’ll pay for 50% of it. Would you like a choice of specialists? There is no hope of affording it on the meager wages paid by the county and city. SRHS employees are also subject to this stripped-down plan.
This however is a great deal for Singing River. They have a captive customer base with no hope of leaving the network to go elsewhere. Indeed, SRHS employees accounted for approximately 3% of the hospital’s revenue.
Potential customers of MAN would be (current TPA is also listed):
- Chevron – United Healthcare
- Ingalls – Blue Cross Anthem
- Singing River Health System – Lockard & Williams, Premier Health network
- Jackson County – Lockard & Williams, Premier Health network
- City of Gautier – Fox Everett
- City of Pascagoula – Lockard & Williams
- Mississippi State & School Employees’ Health Plan – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi
- Various casinos and other large employers
While the mission and goals of MAN may be similarly aligned with Singing River’s, it is particularly galling that SRHS has never cut ties to Chris Anderson.
SRHS Watch has been informed that there are upcoming legislative proposals that might benefit MAN. As various bills are submitted in the next legislative session, ask yourself, “who’s the MAN in this relationship?”