SCRIPPS: Hospital System May Ax Blue Cross
Blue Cross of California has notified physicians in its network that its contract with the Scripps hospital system may end on July 1, forcing physicians to find alternative hospitals for their Blue Cross patients, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. According to a letter sent by the insurer, "Scripps Hospitals has given notice to terminate the Hospital Agreement with Blue Cross ... Blue Cross will no longer be able to authorize or approve scheduled or elective admissions to these hospitals" if an agreement is not reached by July 1. Blue Cross has 118,000 members in San Diego, although it is unclear how many would be affected by the move. The hospital system, which sent a one-year notice to Blue Cross last July, terminated 120 contracts last year with health plans and medical groups. Although both Blue Cross and Scripps have reputations for using "hardball negotiating tactics," Scripps spokesperson Robin Liszewski confirmed that the two parties "have been in discussions since last summer and are now in negotiations." Physicians expect the parties to reach an agreement before the deadline (Fong, 5/18).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.