BCBS of Tennessee, CHI Memorial at contract impasse

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A contract dispute between BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CHI Memorial Health Care System could leave thousands of state residents without in-network coverage, according to a Chattanooga Times Free Press article on Yahoo's website. 

An agreement must be reached by Sept. 8 for the health system's services to remain in-network for patients with either commercial or BlueAdvantage plans, the article said. The state's Medicaid members with BlueCare plans would not be affected.

In a letter to physicians obtained by the Chattanooga Times, CHI Memorial CEO Janelle Reilly said the health system has been negotiating with BCBS, the state's largest health insurer, for eight months.

"We plan to continue our discussions with BCBST, and our goal is to renew our contracts before our current agreements end to avoid any interruption in service for our patients. We have every reason to believe that BCBST also wants to reach an agreement," she said.

In a statement shared with Becker's July 26, CHI Memorial said, "We have offered BCBS a new, fair agreement that would protect patients' access to our doctors and nurses. Unfortunately, BCBS has been unwilling to accept the agreement."

The statement went on to say, "The pandemic also took a financial toll on our organization. During the same time, BCBS was able to add to its reserves. We are calling on BCBS to work with us in the best interests of patients and to reach a new agreement before Sept. 8."

Becker's reached out to BCBS of Tennessee for comment and will update this story if more information becomes available.

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