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Centura is lowering prices at Mercy

Centura Health agrees health care is too expensive in the Four Corners region and is committed to finding a sustainable solution to help lower costs. After thoroughly exploring other models to address affordability at Mercy Regional Medical Center, Centura determined that working directly with two major insurance companies used by the Four Corners community would yield far greater savings for individuals, families and businesses.

Centura is lowering hospital prices by at least 20% and working with Rocky Mountain Health Plans (part of United Healthcare) and another major insurance company to lower insurance premiums in Durango and surrounding communities.

  • Letter to the Community from Peter Banko, CEO

    Five Sisters of Mercy came to Durango from St. Louis in 1882. Their leader, Mother Mary Baptist Meyers, was new to her role and none of the Sisters had experience in building hospitals or schools. They lived the same hard life as most of Southwest Colorado’s residents, and spent their first night literally sleeping in the loft of a barn next to St. Columba Catholic Church. These women were as tough and fearless as the cowboys, miners, and railroad workers that they cared for. Within a few short months, they delivered real, sustainable solutions by opening two schools and a temporary orphanage.

    At the same time, the Sisters opened a tiny hospital that has grown exponentially into what is now Mercy Regional Medical Center. In 1884, the hospital had to close for five months due to a smallpox epidemic and, yet, the commitment, compassion, and resolve of the Sisters of Mercy only grew as a result of this short-term financial crisis.

    Today, health care in Durango, La Plata County, Archuleta County, and the Four Corners region is expensive – too expensive. Out-of-pocket costs are crippling for most families. Too many Coloradans are without coverage and access, despite national and state reforms.

    There is a community perception that a large company based in Denver seems to get in the way more than it provides value to the community. And real, sustainable solutions from Centura Health have been slow coming, so other alternatives from the state and others sound enticing.

    Recommitting with resolve to our 138-year legacy formed by the Sisters of Mercy, Centura Health will be reducing our prices with health plan partners in the Four Corners by at least 20%. More importantly, we are partnering with Rocky Mountain Health Plans (part of UnitedHealthcare) and another major insurance plan, to ensure our actions translate to meaningful reductions in their premiums for you and your family.

    These aren’t just words; we already have experience partnering with health plans to deliver deeper savings to Colorado consumers. Our partnership with Bright Health on the individual exchange and Colorado Doctors Plan for the business community, as part of our collaboration with UnitedHealthcare, are the two most innovative and cost-effective products in the state today.

    Real solutions don’t come in third-party packages. We learned some valuable lessons last year in Summit County. When Centura offers major price discounts, it doesn’t always correspondingly translate to reductions in insurance premiums for individuals and businesses. These third-party “solutions” can also significantly and unnecessarily narrow consumers’ choices for health care while completely eliminating necessary competition in the marketplace.

    Sustainable solutions don’t come from government. The state’s reinsurance program – which Centura supported last legislative session – was underfunded by $160 million before it even launched. Now, we are anxiously awaiting the draft public option bill to understand how it aligns with what consumers are telling us they want – enhanced choice, expanded coverage and affordability.

    With these lessons learned, we are actively working with the two largest insurance companies in your community. We are working through the state’s “artificial” insurance region barriers to ensure that our price reductions directly translate to premium reductions to you, your neighbors, and your business. Our work ahead also includes partnering directly with employers on strategic pricing and alignment strategies.

    We will keep you updated on our progress around affordability and thank you for your continued support of Centura Health’s ministry at Mercy Regional.

    Peter D. Banko
    Peter D. Banko
    President & CEO, Centura Health
    Tom Gessel
    Tom Gessel
    Group President Centura Health
    (Durango Resident)