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Blue Cross NC and Mission Health: 'We have entered into an agreement'

Photo: WLOS staff

Blue Cross NC and Mission Health issued a joint statement on Tuesday, saying they had "entered into an agreement" for Mission's participation in Blue Cross networks, effective Friday, December 15, 2017.

Western North Carolina residents have lived with the consequences since October, when, with the end of the prior agreement, thousands of patients had to pay higher out-of-network rates to continue care at Mission.

Mission had maintained Blue Cross Blue Shield offered it no increase in a new contract, stating it wanted to cut the contract or keep it the same. Meanwhile, Blue Cross maintained Mission has some of the highest fees in the region, and wasn't entitled to a higher-paying new contract.

A week from Friday, a stalemate with serious consequences for mountain residents will finally end.

Blue Cross NC posted about the agreement here on its blog.

The full official joint statement is below:

BLUE CROSS NC AND MISSION HEALTH JOINT STATEMENT
“Mission Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North have entered into an agreement for Mission Health participation in Blue Cross networks effective, Friday, December 15, 2017. Both parties are pleased to reach agreement on the mutual goal of ensuring that the people of Western North Carolina receive the affordable, quality health care that they need.”
ABOUT BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.89 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. We have been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute multiple times since 2012. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
ABOUT MISSION HEALTH
Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth-largest health system. For the fifth time in the past six years, Mission Health has been named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics, an IBM Company and part of IBM Watson Health in 2017. We are the only health system in North Carolina to achieve this recognition. Mission Health operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, long-term acute care provider Asheville Specialty Hospital, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. With approximately 12,000 team members and 2,000 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit mission-health.org or @MissionHealthNC.

Blue Cross NC's statement is below:

BLUE CROSS NC AND MISSION HEALTH REACH AGREEMENT TO BRING THE HEALTH SYSTEM BACK INTO BLUE CROSS NC’S NETWORK
DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and Mission Health have entered into an agreement for Mission Health provider participation in Blue Cross NC networks effective December 15, 2017. Both parties are pleased to reach agreement on the mutual goal of ensuring that the people of Western North Carolina receive the affordable, quality health care that they need.
“We are firmly committed to ensuring that our customers have access to high-quality, more affordable health care,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., President and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “We are glad that Mission Health has partnered with us to achieve this goal.”
This new contract, which has been under negotiation since Mission Health’s contract termination on October 5th, means that Blue Cross NC customers can resume receiving care at Mission Health facilities and with Mission Health providers on an in-network basis as of Dec. 15. Services and provider visits until then will generally be considered out-of-network.
Until Mission Health is officially back in-network on Dec. 15, Blue Cross NC customers can visit bcbsnc.com/findadoctor to locate in-network doctors and hospitals in their area. Blue Cross NC customers in Western NC can also use the following resources:
• To talk to a Blue Cross NC Customer Service Professional in-person, visit the Blue Cross NC retail store in Asheville at 1854 Hendersonville Rd., Suite C.
• Our customers can also go to urgent care facilities for urgent, non-emergency care, and most independent physicians in the area also participate in our network. To find an urgent care or primary care provider near you, go to bcbsnc.com.
• In an emergency, Blue Cross NC customers should always go to the nearest hospital. Emergency care is always covered as an in-network benefit. Prior authorization is never required for emergency care.

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