UnitedHealth Switches Leaders for TRICARE West Region Contract

Bloomberg News Service is reporting that UnitedHealth Group Inc., has changed the leadership of a division in charge the TRICARE West region.  The switch follows complaints from the Defense Department (DoD) and beneficiaries that UnitedHealth’s poor performance had led to delays in obtaining medical care. The company assumed responsibility for the contract on April 1 and Tina Jonas, a former Pentagon comptroller, has been appointed as the unit’s president and has “all operational responsibilities” for the division. Jonas previously served as president of a separate unit of UnitedHealth.

The delays affected members of the program’s TRICARE Prime plan in the West Region, which has 1.6 million beneficiaries in the 21 states served by UnitedHealth. Due to long delays TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) has allowed a waiver that suspends the requirement that all referrals be approved by United Healthcare before the beneficiary could obtain specialty care. This waiver was reported in May 24, 2013 Newsbytes, and continues until June 18, 2013.