A letter from CHI Health CEO Cliff Robertson, MD and Good Samaritan President Mike Schnieders
On Nov. 20, we were informed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska that it has rejected our good faith effort to resolve our contractual differences. As you know, CHI Health made a generous $80 million offer to Blue Cross this week that we believe addressed their concerns about cost. Our proposal would have advanced the CHI Health goals of protecting patient safety, patient choice and making further investments in our value-based approach to care.
We went in to the week with the goal of bringing clarity to the market by Friday. While Blue Cross’ rejection of our proposal is not the answer we hoped for, it does provide employers and patients with the information you need to make 2015 health plan decisions, while you still have time.
We know that as a result of Blue Cross’ decision there will be consequences for employers, patients, physicians and our hospitals. We are working on solutions and will share more in the coming days.
Two issues I want to address:
Blue Cross indicated it would treat five hospitals in Greater Nebraska (Kearney, Grand Island, Nebraska City, Schuyler and Plainview) as in-network. That plan is, at best, misleading to the employers, families and communities interested in a real and lasting solution that gives them access to their trusted CHI Health doctors and hospitals. Without an actual written contract there is no basis for those hospitals to be considered in-network. The Blue Cross’ “offer” provides no protection for our patients. No one would expect to do business around something as important as your health care without basic protections around rates, payment terms and other conditions.
Therefore, effective Jan. 1, 2015, we have no choice but to treat Blue Cross as any other health plan that does not have a contract with CHI Health. We will bill Blue Cross full charges, as we would any other plan without a contract. It will be up to Blue Cross Blue Shield to determine what patients will owe.
CHI Health and BCBS have had a long-standing contractual relationship and spent the last 18 months negotiating a contract. In fact, we agreed to terms earlier this year that BCBS ultimately walked away from after the contract was signed.
It is our intent, and my personal commitment as CEO of CHI Health, to accelerate the good work being done by our colleagues across the region to improve the health of our communities and fulfill our Mission to serve those who need care.
If you or a loved one has a medical emergency, like a severe injury or illness, go to the closest ER, including CHI Health hospitals. Emergencies are covered by law regardless of your insurance plan. If you are a Blue Cross member and denied coverage, CHI Health will help you resolve it on the back end, even waiving the out -of-network cost difference if your claim for emergency care is denied. To learn more about emergency care coverage, visit whyCHIhealth.org
If you are interested in learning more about your options to continue care at CHI Health, call us at 1-888-245-4442.