Important Information for Kaiser Members Concerning In-Network Access to Care

We have some unfortunate news for our patients with Kaiser insurance.

All Desert Care Network hospitals will soon be out-of-network for Kaiser members. Hi-Desert Medical Center (HDMC) will be out-of-network on September 1, 2021. Desert Regional Medical Center (DRMC) and JFK Memorial Hospital (JFK) will be out-of-network on October 1, 2021. The employed physicians at each hospital will also be impacted.

This change is a direct result of Kaiser abruptly terminating a ten-year working relationship with DRMC and JFK, thereby pushing both hospitals out of network. HDMC was forced to end its agreement with Kaiser due to Kaiser’s continued contractual breaches. Additionally, Kaiser cut off in-network access to hospitals where HDMC patients are transferred if higher levels of care are needed.

We have sent letters to our patients to ensure they are aware of this impending change and the negative consequences it may impose on them and their loved ones. With this termination, Kaiser members in our community will soon have access to only one hospital in the Coachella Valley that lacks critical services including:
  • Comprehensive Stroke Care – DRMC is the only facility designated in our community
  • High-risk OB services with Joint Commission Perinatal Care certification
  • A highly experienced Level III NICU – which is the only one in the community
  • A Level II Trauma Center – DRMC is the only trauma center between the Arizona/Mexicali border and the Inland Empire as designated by Riverside County
If you continue to receive care from Desert Care Network after termination and remain covered by Kaiser, you may be subject to out-of-network costs. Our emergency rooms will always care for you regardless of your health plan.

Without giving our community a say in the matter, Kaiser is forcing patients to lose access to local hospitals that have cared for the community throughout the pandemic. In many cases, Kaiser will now charge the same premium for a smaller network lacking key services, disrupting trusted physician-patient relationships, and placing undue financial burdens on families.

With Open Enrollment coming up, there are options you can consider to protect your access to Desert Care Network in 2022. We are currently in-network with all other major health plans. Desert Oasis Healthcare (DOHC) and Empire Physicians Medical Group (EPMG) are local groups that manage these health plans.

For additional information or if you have questions about what this means for you, please contact our patient information phone line at 888-694-6761.

We appreciate the trust you have placed in our health system and remain grateful for the opportunity to continue caring for you and your family.