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In 11th Hour Announcement, Saint Francis Will Stay In Blue Cross Network

Saint Francis

After months of back-and-forth negotiations and with thousands of Oklahomans' medical care thrown into uncertainty, Saint Francis Health System and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma announced late Monday that the hospital system will not be leaving the insurance network on Thursday after all. 

“We are pleased to reach a new agreement that allows our members to continue receiving in-network care at Saint Francis,” Joseph R. Cunningham, M.D., president of BCBSOK, said in a joint statement. “We take our role as stewards of our members’ health care premium dollars very seriously.  This agreement proves our commitment to members by providing them with access to quality, cost-effective health care, while safeguarding them from future unexpected costs.  We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with Saint Francis.” 

“The future of healthcare is changing as are the relationships between hospitals and health plans. We need to work together to enhance how care is delivered and how patients are served. For the past several months of negotiations, both parties have been working toward this agreement that provides value for both BCBS’ members and Saint Francis Health System’s patients. Saint Francis is committed to leading the region into the future where care is comprehensive and costs are affordable,” Cliff Robertson, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Saint Francis Health System, said. “We are Oklahoma’s healthcare leader; our pledge is to lead not only in delivering high-quality care, but to also lead in value, innovation and collaboration.”

The health system and the insurer have been at odds for months, with Blue Cross at one point accusing Saint Francis of lying about the state of negotiations. Blue Cross said in May they were in the process of informing 59,000 affected households about the failed negotiation and what it would mean for their health care. 

Saint Francis would have been out-of-network for Blue Cross planholders beginning this Thursday had the two not reached yesterday's agreement.

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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