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Now Out-of-Network with Blue Cross, Hospital Makes Commitment to Work to Protect Patients’ Access to Care
Wayne Memorial Hospital today announced that after months of negotiations, it has been forced out of the BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina network of providers. Effective today, Wayne Memorial Hospital is an out-of-network provider for Blue Cross members.
While negotiations appeared to be progressing, Blue Cross continued to offer essentially the same proposal that would result in significant financial loss to Wayne Memorial Hospital, including over $9 million in cuts over the next three years if hospital inflation remained close to five percent.
“When we first started negotiations with Blue Cross, they made it clear they had three objectives for a new contract. Over the course of our discussions, and in an effort to reach agreement, we made concessions on each demand that Blue Cross put forward, but it was never enough,” said Bill Paugh, president and CEO of Wayne Memorial Hospital. “This is not the outcome we wanted, but accepting Blue Cross’ offer meant reductions in our services and an impact to our staff. That’s not in the best interest of our patients or our community. As a responsible community hospital, we simply can’t accept a contract that would have such a negative impact.”
Although Blue Cross has dropped Wayne Memorial Hospital from its network, Wayne Memorial Hospital is committed to protecting patients’ access to care as much as possible through March 31, 2014, and for all obstetrics patients, through December 31, 2014. The hospital has committed to make every effort to keep patients’ out-of-pocket costs the same as if they were still in-network.
“We don’t want to put our patients in the middle of this situation,” said Dr. Christopher Griffin, chairman of the Wayne Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. “They shouldn’t be forced to pay higher out-of-pocket costs, drive out of the area to receive care, or delay necessary treatment out of concern for costs. While this isn’t a long-term solution, and it is going to be a challenging process, we will do our best to protect our patients from any unnecessary burdens. We want our patients to know that we are committed to continue providing them care as long as we are able, just as we have been for the last 120 years.”
Patients with Blue Cross Medicare Advantage, including Blue Cross secondary or supplemental plans, are not impacted by the out-of-network status. They can continue to receive care the same way as always. In addition, the Wayne Memorial Hospital Emergency department and Wayne Health Physicians are still in-network with Blue Cross, so care at either will be covered as usual.