Health & Science

Memorial Hermann and Blue Cross Blue Shield reach contract agreement, allowing nearly 200,000 patients to continue care

The agreement allows nearly 200,000 patients to continue care at Memorial Hermann hospitals.

Memorial Hermann hospital at the Texas Medical Center on July 24, 2019.

The Memorial Hermann health system and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas on Friday announced that the two parties have reached a contract agreement, allowing nearly 200,000 patients to continue care at Memorial Hermann hospitals.

In a statement, Memorial Hermann said patients with BCBSTX commercial PPO/POS, EPO, Blue Essentials HMO, and Medicare Advantage HMO/PPO health plans will be allowed to continue care without further disruption.

“In-network access to Memorial Hermann's hospitals, facilities and affiliated providers is restored for our patients,” the hospital said.

The contract dispute stemmed from a disagreement on the status of Memorial Hermann's estimated 2,400 independent physicians — Blue Cross wanted to contract with independent physicians directly, while Memorial Hermann wanted the doctors to contract through the hospital.

Negotiations failed last week, resulting in “just under 200,000” Memorial Hermann patients being forced out of network, according to James McCarthy, the executive vice president of Memorial Hermann. McCarthy said last week that talks between the two sides would continue even after the negotiations failed.

In a statement, Blue Cross said the two parties agreed to a new four-year agreement.

“We have great respect for Memorial Hermann,” the statement read. “The health system has an important and vital role in delivering care to our members and patients. We are happy to continue our longstanding relationship with the health system.”

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