CommonSpirit, BCBS of Texas split to affect thousands

An in-network contract between Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is set to end if the organizations don't reach a new agreement by Dec. 16, according to the Houston Chronicle

The contract termination would affect thousands of BCBS of Texas members who access care from CommonSpirit's subsidiary hospitals in Texas, including CHI St. Luke's Health in Houston. By mid-December, 16 CHI St. Luke's hospitals in total would be considered out of network for most BCBS of Texas members, except MyBlue Health customers.

Shara McClure, senior vice president of Texas healthcare delivery for BCBS of Texas, told the Houston Chronicle that CommonSpirit first notified the insurer about the split in June. Negotiations since then have stalled. 

Pricing is a sticking point. Ms. McClure said CommonSpirit sought "egregious" price increases for its services. In a statement to the Houston Chronicle, Doug Lawson, PhD, the CEO of CHI St. Luke's, turned the blame toward BCBS of Texas. He said, "It is unfortunate that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has not been more willing to reimburse at levels that enable us to provide essential services."

Last year, more than 10,000 hospitalizations across CHI St. Luke's 16 hospitals were for BCBS patients, according to the report. 

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