CATHOLIC HEALTHCARE WEST: At Impasse With Blue Cross
Catholic Healthcare West is sticking to its guns in its contract standoff with Blue Cross of California over reimbursement rates. If negotiators were unable to reach an agreement by midnight last night, Blue Cross policyholders -- including 400 workers at CHW's St. Francis Medical Center -- will have to seek care elsewhere or pay out-of-network charges at the chain's hospitals starting today. CHW officials contend that current Blue Cross reimbursement rates "do not cover the cost of care." Blue Cross, on the other hand, calls CHW's proposed rates "costly and unreasonable." The Santa Barbara News-Press reports that both sides were still working toward a settlement last night, but negotiations were "tenuous." Sister Christine Bowman, vice president of community development at St. Francis, said that the hospitals "would not be hit hard because Blue Cross accounts for a small percentage of admissions." She added that "it is patients who would be most affected because their health care choices would be more limited." Blue Cross customers who have questions about their coverage can call Catholic Healthcare West's hotline at 1-800-733-4966 (Ross, 7/7). Click here for past California Healthline coverage of the CHW-Blue Cross contract negotiations.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.