Blue Cross, Sutter Health Negotiations Continue
Capitation payment levels are the "sticking point" in ongoing negotiations between Blue Cross of California and Sutter Health as the Dec. 31 expiration date of the companies' current contract draws near, the San Francisco Business Times reports. After three months of negotiations, Blue Cross has been unable to secure a contract with the 25 hospitals that comprise Sutter Health. Blue Cross has already notified physicians to admit Blue Cross patients to an "alternate network" effective Jan. 1 if negotiations have reached no resolution by then. Contract negotiations two years ago were resolved "under similar circumstances, with talks going down to the wire" before Blue Cross agreed to pay Sutter more money. Both sides have scheduled meetings throughout the holiday week and express hope that a resolution may be achieved. "It's the same old process, and the same old negotiations," Blue Cross spokesperson Michael Chee said, adding, "It's always money" (Doherty, San Francisco Business Times, 12/18).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.