Georgia governor will 'take whatever steps necessary' to quell Piedmont, BCBS dispute

Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal urged the CEOs of Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia to reach a new contract before a fast-approaching deadline, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.

Piedmont's in-network agreement with BCBSGA is slated to expire March 31. Piedmont Healthcare hospitals, excluding Conyers, Ga.-based Piedmont Rockdale, and physicians will exit BCBSGA's provider network if a new agreement is not inked. The change could leave commercially insured BCBSGA members with higher out-of-pocket costs beginning April 1. The contract does not concern Medicare Advantage members.

Among those who would be affected by a Piedmont-BCBSGA split are hundreds of thousands of state employees and retirees, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. Mr. Deal wrote to the CEOs his administration "will take whatever steps necessary" to ensure employees and retirees aren't caught in the middle of a lapsed contract.

Earlier in March, Piedmont spokespeople told the Newnan Times-Herald, "We have a long history of partnering with Anthem Blue Cross to maintain the critical relationship between patient and physician, and both organizations continue to work to that end."

BCBSGA echoed Piedmont's statement on its website, writing, "We're working hard to come to an agreement that continues to give you access to affordable care — and also makes sure that Piedmont is compensated fairly. Our members are our top priority, so we're hoping to sign a contract soon so you can continue to get in-network care from Piedmont."

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