Georgia hospital says it risks closure due to underpayments by BCBS

Cornerstone Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., has sued Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, alleging reduced and delayed payments from the insurer could put the hospital out of business, according to the Daily Report.

The hospital claims BCBS of Georgia is refusing to pay contractually agreed-upon rates.

"Reimbursement by [Blue Cross] has ranged from essentially nothing at all, and ludicrously low, to other amounts which were consistently far lower than what was required by the formal contract in place," reads the complaint, according to the Daily Report.

Cornerstone Medical Center filed its suit against BCBS of Georgia in state court in April, but the case was later removed to federal court.

The hospital said in court documents that it "simply cannot continue to remain viable" when BCBS of Georgia isn't paying the contracted rates.

A BCBS spokeswoman told the Daily Report the insurer would not comment on the lawsuit.

Cornerstone Medical Center, formerly Hutcheson Medical Center, has faced financial challenges in recent years. The hospital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2014 in hopes of restructuring debt to stabilize the organization and ensure long-term viability. However, the hospital was forced to close Dec. 4, 2015, due to limited cash flow. The hospital reopened just three weeks later after Atlanta-based ApolloMD agreed to purchase the facility.

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