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No deal reached yet between Hendrick Health System, Blue Cross

By Jason Goodwin, News Director, jgoodwin@ktxs.com
Doug Myers, Digital Media Manager, dmyers@ktxs.com
Published On: May 21 2014 11:53:15 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 30 2014 04:24:51 PM CDT
Tim Lancaster

Hendrick Health System President and CEO Tim Lancaster addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon about ongoing negotiations between Hendrick and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Photo by Nick Bradshaw/KTXS News

ABILENE, Texas -

Hendrick Health System services will be considered out-of-network for Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas users if attempts to reach an agreement by June 30 are unsuccessful.

During a Wednesday afternoon meeting with reporters, Hendrick Health System President and CEO Tim Lancaster said the negotiations will impact about 10 percent of patients that Hendrick sees – or roughly 10,000 households.

According to a news release from Hendrick Health System, negotiations between the two entities to reach an agreement in existing contracts have continued for more than 10 months.

Under the umbrella of Hendrick Health System is Hendrick Medical Center, which serves a 22-county region and is located on Pine Street in Abilene.

In addition to Hendrick services, the Hendrick Provider Network and the Hendrick Anesthesia Network will be considered out-of-network for BCBS patients if negotiations fail, the news release said.

It won't, however, impact private physician offices associated with Hendrick, Lancaster said.

Meanwhile, Lancaster said another meeting is scheduled between Hendrick and BCBS soon, but he declined to reveal exactly when.

Here’s the Hendrick Health System news release in its entirety:

Hendrick continues negotiations with Blue Cross Blue Shield to keep in-network status

Hendrick Medical Center (HMC) has been in negotiations with Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas (BCBSTX) for more than 10 months to reach an agreement in existing contracts. If an agreement can’t be met by June 30, Hendrick services, as well as Hendrick Provider Network (HPN) and Hendrick Anesthesia Network (HAN) physicians, will be considered out-of-network for BCBSTX patients.

“It’s important to know that, for now, nothing changes,” said Tim Lancaster, president and CEO of Hendrick Medical Center. “We remain committed to working with BCBSTX in good faith to reach a fair agreement. Our goal is to ensure that the community has uninterrupted access to our facilities and physicians.”

Despite the 60-year relationship between HMC and the insurance carrier, BCBSTX has created a large gap between Hendrick contract rates and fair market value. The last hospital payment rate increase was four years ago.

“Fair payments from insurance companies are critical in allowing us the ability to improve access to care for our community, reinvest in medical technology and recruit and retain the highest quality physicians, nurses and medical staff,” said Lancaster. “We want to reach a fair agreement with BCBSTX to protect our patients’ access to quality, cost effective and convenient healthcare services.”

Hendrick is currently notifying area employers and patients of its negotiation status. A patient hotline, as well as an informational webpage has been set up to help patients with some frequently asked questions. Patients can call (325) 307-0368 or visit www.ehendrick.org/bcbs.