REDWOOD EMPIRE: Contracts with Three More Health Plans
Redwood Empire Medical Group (REMGI), Sonoma County's second-largest doctors group, has reached an agreement with three more health plans -- Blue Cross, PacifiCare and Aetna -- in an effort to regain stability, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. The group, which represents 365 primary care physicians and specialists, had been on "shaky ground" last summer when a group of member physicians threatened to leave, citing untimely reimbursement practices. REMGI President Donald Van Giesen said, "These new agreements put us on a much more solid footing. They enable us to go forward with more confidence and stability." In November, Redwood Empire reached an agreement with Blue Shield, but has yet to secure new contracts with Health Net, Prudential and One Health. Contracts with those plans expired last year, but services have continued by "mutual agreement" until new contracts are signed. Van Giesen said REMGI "is also close to reaching new agreements" with those plans.
Not Out of The Woods Yet
Despite the announcement, patients who need radiology and oncology services from REMGI remain "in limbo" as negotiations between the group and the Redwood Regional Medical Group broke down mid-January. Redwood Regional officials said that they do not believe their doctors will receive prompt reimbursement from REMGI for cancer treatments. Van Giesen said REMGI is attempting to "get its contracting health plans to assure reimbursement." However, Redwood Regional Executive Director Sharon DeBenedetti indicated that its officials may try to contract directly with the health plans (Rose, 2/2).