Trinity Health has launched an initiative called Health Comes First to call attention to the need for fair reimbursements from insurance companies.
The system said the campaign is in response to years of reimbursements that do not cover the true cost of care from health insurance companies that have been profiting at historic levels.
The campaign's site is healthcomesfirst.org.
"We're getting the word out to our patients, legislators and community and business leaders that there's an imbalance here," said Trinity Health President and CEO Mike Slubowski. "We need to be paid fairly to continue to offer the kind of access to care
that they're expecting, the quality of care that they're expecting, and to be able to adequately staff our facilities."
"We've been silent too long about the imbalance that has now led to crisis proportions," he added.
The Health Comes First campaign says insurers often deny claims and managing those denials is costly for health systems.
"We're at the receiving end of death by 1,000 cuts," said Slubowski. "On top of insurers refusing to pay us fairly, we're facing denial of care at an escalating level. We pursue almost 90% of those denied claims and last year that cost us $120 million."
Of the clinical and documentation denials it appeals, Trinity Health says the majority are eventually approved. Slubowski added that commercial payers are demanding lower costs at the same time health care expenses are going up.
"The math doesn't work," he said. "We are simply asking for the fair reimbursement we deserve."
Trinity Health points out commercial health insurers' earnings grew 29% last year, while half of all U.S. hospitals lost money.
The system says it has taken significant actions and made sacrifices to weather the operational and financial pressures it continues to face post-pandemic and to build for long-term growth and success. Despite these ongoing challenges, Slubowski noted
that Trinity remains focused on providing the high-quality care people need most.
In addition, Trinity Health last year provided $1.5 billion in community benefit, the Health Comes First website points out.
"Across the U.S., we serve communities, large and small, providing not just traditional care but also programs and services that would otherwise not exist, especially for those patients and their families who are experiencing poverty," Slubowski said.
"This campaign gives our local health systems a unified voice to call for fair payment and defends our patients' in-network access to the care they trust and deserve.
"In other words, we do all we can to make sure Health Comes First. We need health insurers to join us."