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Blue Cross Blue Shield Says Saint Francis Health System Leaving Network After Failed Negotiations

Saint Francis

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma said Wednesday that negotiations with Saint Francis Health System had failed and, as a result, Saint Francis will leave the network on July 29th.

"After months of negotiation in good faith with Saint Francis Health System, BCBSOK and Saint Francis were unable to reach an agreement that would protect Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma members and customers from future cost increases as the hospital system continues to grow and expand," the insurer said in a statement. 

The split, first reported by KTUL, impacts all Saint Francis hospitals, off-campus locations, and all Laureate and Warren Clinic doctors and health care professionals, according to BCBSOK, which said Wednesday it was in the process of informing 59,000 member households of the situation.

The insurer said patients in certain situations, such as those receiving treatment for life-threatening illness or those in the second trimester of a pregnancy, may qualify for continuity of care, meaning they may be eligible to continue seeing the same SFHS providers at in-network rates. BCBSOK said patients should call the customer service number on their insurance cards to check their eligibility. 

Reached by phone Wednesday, a Saint Francis spokesperson declined to comment for this story.

BCBSOK said Saint Francis's growth had precipitated the breakup.

"Saint Francis has more than 100 locations, but only four acute care hospitals. It continues to expand, adding clinics and retail locations," the insurer said in their statement. "Saint Francis wants BCBSOK to reimburse many of its clinic and retail locations the same as the acute care hospitals. This would mean our members pay much higher rates for services at off-campus locations operated by Saint Francis. We want to ensure our members receive the right service, at the right place for the right price. This is not the outcome we had hoped for, but our networks remain strong and we are committed to help our members who decide to transition to the thousands of other quality, in-network providers in the? Tulsa ?metro and across the state.??"

The news comes just over one month after another major shakeup for health care in Green Country, when the Tulsa Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital announced its plan to permanently close by June 1st.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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