Roper, UnitedHealthcare end dispute over prices, sign new contract

Roper Hospital is on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare and a large insurer ended two month of talks by renewing their contact, it was announced Monday.

The new deal means that local policyholders of UnitedHealthcare plans will continue to have in-network access to all Roper physicians and medical centers in the Charleston region.

The contract was made retroactive to March 1 to avoid disruptions in benefits, the companies said.

Terms of the new contract were not disclosed.

“With this commitment in place, our focus will remain on what matters most, which is delivering high-quality care to our patients.” Roper CEO David Dunlap said in a written statement.

Garland Scott, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of the Carolinas, said the “renewed network relationship lays the foundation for future collaboration on health issues that matter to our plan participants.”

The insurer covers almost 500,000 South Carolinians. The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company announced in February that it planned to cut ties to all Carolinas Healthcare System providers, including local Roper doctors and hospitals, on Feb. 28.

The dispute was over how much money UnitedHealthcare was proposing to pay Roper for medical services.

“We offered to pay Roper St. Francis rates that are similar to what other health plans pay them for the same services, but the hospital system is demanding an increase above-the-market average without any commitment to the quality or value it provides our customers,” a spokesman told The Post and Courier in February.

In response, Roper cited “significant gaps in what UnitedHealthcare is proposing and what Roper St. Francis considers to be fair rates and contract terms.”

Medical services were not disrupted during the negotiations.

Roper St. Francis treats more than 275,000 patients a year throughout seven counties.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.