CHI St. Luke's, BCBS of Texas strike new agreement

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CHI St. Luke's Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas inked a new contract that will keep the Houston-based health system an in-network provider for 65,000 BCBS of Texas patients.

The agreement, announced Jan. 8, comes after a previous contract between the organizations expired Dec. 16, 2020. The new agreement is retroactive for BCBS of Texas members who accessed care at CHI St. Luke's Health on or after Dec. 17, 2020.

Reimbursement rates were a sticking point in negotiations. Representatives from BCBS of Texas had said CHI St. Luke's was seeking too high of prices for its services, while CHI St. Luke's leaders argued BCBS of Texas wasn't paying the health system enough. 

In light of the new agreement, T. Douglas Lawson, the CEO of CHI St. Luke's, said in a Jan. 8 news release that, "termination of the contract last month was a difficult decision, especially in the face of COVID-19, but we knew it was a necessary decision as we could only continue to provide the value-driven care our community relies upon by addressing St. Luke's financial health. This agreement does that."

In a separate Jan. 9 statement, Shara McClure, senior vice president of Texas healthcare delivery for BCBS of Texas, said, "We advocated on our members' behalf to keep healthcare prices affordable, particularly during a global pandemic when access to care is critical."

Terms of the new agreement, which lasts through 2023, weren't released. 

CHI St. Luke's is part of Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health.

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