Blue Cross, Sutter Health Agree on Third-Party Mediator
Offering a "ray of light" in their contract dispute, executives from Blue Cross of California and Sutter Health agreed last week to allow a "neutral third party" to review and evaluate Blue Cross's proposal on reimbursements and to help both sides negotiate. Both Sutter Health and Blue Cross say finding such a mediator "shouldn't be a significant hurdle" and expect to identify one this week. Bill Gleeson, a spokesperson for Sutter Health, said, "After this, there will either be an agreement or there will absolutely not be one" (Doherty, San Francisco Business Times, 2/19). The Contra Costa Times reports that state legislators have been paying "close attention to the impasse." Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) has introduced a bill (SB 103) that would require health systems and insurers to complete contract negotiations by the end of August and require employers to hold open enrollment in September (Chang, Contra Costa Times, 2/19). The contract between Sutter Health and Blue Cross expired Jan. 1. Negotiations have remained unresolved due to disputes over reimbursement levels and the resolution of "disputed claims" (California Healthline, 1/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.