Piedmont reaches last-minute deal with insurer

Just hours before their current contract expired, Piedmont Healthcare reached agreement with Aetna/Coventry on a new three-year deal.


The agreement, announced Friday, means that many Aetna and Coventry members can still receive in-network rates from the five Piedmont hospitals, its outpatient centers and physicians.

If the contract talks had collapsed, many patients would have had two less-than-ideal choices: 1) find a new doctor, or 2) continue to get services from Piedmont’s hospitals or doctors, but on a more costly, out-of-network basis.

“Throughout negotiations, we remained committed to ensuring our patients who are members of the Aetna and Coventry insurance networks continue to have access to Piedmont’s high quality health care services through choice of our physicians and hospitals,” Greg Hurst, chief operating officer for Piedmont Healthcare, said in a statement Friday.

Aetna recently acquired Coventry, and between the two of them they have more than 600,000 members in Georgia.


Both Aetna and Piedmont had expressed optimism that a deal could be worked out before the deadline at midnight Friday.

Such contract negotiations between health systems and insurers generally get worked out in time, but often mere hours before the old deal expires.

Three years ago, in fact, Piedmont and Aetna reached an agreement on a new three-year contract just hours before a midnight deadline.

Besides its flagship hospital in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead district, Piedmont has four hospitals: Piedmont Fayette Hospital, Piedmont Henry Hospital, Piedmont Mountainside Hospital (in Jasper) and Piedmont Newnan Hospital.

The contract also includes the 1,000 physicians in the Piedmont Clinic, Piedmont Physicians Group and Piedmont Heart Institute Physicians.