"That's exactly what I have been talking about," says Peter Wright, president and CEO of Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH. "There's the narrow network that excludes a whole community, and I have a problem with that."
Anthem's network in New Hampshire's exchange excludes 10 of the state's 26 acute-care hospitals, including VRH. The hospital serves Sullivan County, which has no public transportation, an economically disadvantaged population, and poor healthcare outcomes compared to other counties in the Granite State. "How can you not look at that as classism?" Wright said.
Many of VRH's patients face not only changing primary care doctors but also drives as long as 90 miles for services. "The narrow network that was implemented here excluded Sullivan County and I want to see that changed," Wright said.
Wright says another change he would like to see is adoption of an "any willing provider" feature in the public exchanges similar to a proposal before lawmakers in the NH Statehouse. "Anybody who is willing to accept the fee schedule can be a part of that network," he said.