HCA Healthcare Launches Advertising Campaign Urging Bay Area Blue Cross Members To Switch Health Plans
In the continuing contract dispute between HCA Healthcare and Blue Cross of California, the hospital group has launched an advertising campaign urging Blue Cross members to change health plans so they can continue to receive care at three HCA-owned San Jose-area hospitals, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 10/15). The two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on reimbursement rates since Oct. 1, when Blue Cross terminated its contract with HCA. As a result, Blue Cross members in the Bay Area will no longer have access to most elective procedures at Good Samaritan Hospital, San Jose Medical Center or the Regional Medical Center of San Jose (California Healthline, 10/7). Blue Cross will still cover emergency care at all three hospitals, the Mercury News reports. The ads are scheduled to run in local newspapers through this week, coinciding with the annual open enrollment period during which people can opt to switch health plans. Leslie Kelsay, a hospital spokesperson, said, "People have a short time frame for making their decisions. Since there are no talks scheduled with Blue Cross, they need to consider whether they can count on a decision being just around the corner -- or whether they should consider another plan that will provide care at these hospitals." Noting that HCA "walked away from the negotiating table" first, Blue Cross spokesperson Michael Chee said, "It's extremely unfortunate that HCA has chosen this low-road approach. ... All we're interested in is sitting down and settling the issue" (San Jose Mercury News, 10/15).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.