John Muir/Mt. Diablo, Blue Shield Contract to Expire March 31
Already involved in a contract standoff with Blue Cross of California, John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health System and Health Network will reach the end of its contract with Blue Shield of California on March 31, and the two have "been unable to reach a new deal," the Contra Costa Times reports. Last week, Blue Shield sent a letter to 9,700 HMO members who see John Muir/Mt. Diablo physicians informing them of the pending contract expiration. Blue Shield spokesperson Laura Perry said the letter was sent to satisfy a Department of Managed Health Care requirement that a health plan inform its members if a contract is set to expire within 30 days. She added that members could continue to use John Muir/Mt. Diablo doctors after the March 31 deadline "while contract negotiations continue." According to Patty Hefner of John Muir/Mt. Diablo, the contract impasse is centered around reimbursement rates, among other issues. Hefner added that the health network would continue to treat Blue Shield HMO members "for an undetermined amount of time" if an agreement is not reached by the end of the month. In the event that no contract is signed, Blue Shield HMO members with individual plans would be able to see their John Muir/Mt. Diablo doctor until a certain date, while members with employer-sponsored insurance could see their provider until their employer's contract with Blue Shield expires (Massingill/Metinko, Contra Costa Times, 3/8).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.