HMA hospitals say no change for BCBS patients - - The News for South Mississippi

HMA hospitals say no change for BCBS patients

The HMA hospitals filed a lawsuit against BCBS in June. The HMA hospitals filed a lawsuit against BCBS in June.
FLOWOOD, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The fight between Hospital Management Associates, or HMA, owned hospitals and Blue Cross & Blue Shield continues.

The HMA hospitals filed a lawsuit against BCBS in June. They claim the insurance company failed to pay for all the services listed in their contracts. Now, those hospitals have been taken off the network list for Blue Cross.

Typically out-of-network equals more money out-of-pocket. But the 10 HMA hospitals across the state are trying to avoid that.

"We will not penalize our patients just because Blue Cross made this choice to put us out of network. We will treat them with the same good quality care and treat them as if they are in-network," said Woman's Hospital CEO Sherry Pitts.

Pitts says the solution forces them to re-arrange their budgets.

"It will be more of a cost to us, but we are prepared to absorb that," she explained.

Despite their best efforts to let BCBS policy holders know the costs won't rise, they know some won't get the message, and there could be long-term effects for both patients and their associates.

"If our patients don't stick with us during this situation, if they choose to go elsewhere, then of course we will have to look at the status of jobs," described Pitts.

River Oaks Hospital's CEO Dwayne Blaylock has already heard the concerns echoed by its patients.

"It's been anger and it's been shock that they're being put in this position by their insurance company," said Blaylock.

But he says HMA is at a stalemate with BCBS.

"We've made several requests to Blue Cross Blue Shield to come back to the table with us to renegotiate our differences. And so far, every one of those requests has fallen on deaf ears. And frankly we're at a loss for words at why they're choosing to penalize their patients,"  explained Blaylock.

While HMA's are committed to absorbing the out-of-network costs for now, they're still hoping to ultimately reach an agreement with Blue Cross.

"This is much bigger than an HMA issue. This effects the delivery of healthcare in the state of Mississippi," said Blaylock.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield sent the following statement when asked for comment:

"As we are in litigation with HMA, all related communications have been directed to our legal counsel. As for our customers, we have already communicated any impact of a change in hospital network status to our members directly."

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