Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas issued a response to the letter from Salina Regional Health Center, CEO, Joel Phelps that was posted on April 27th.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Kansas (4/28/23):
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and Salina Regional Health Center are long-standing partners. We don’t want to cause stress or alarm with concerns of them going out of network, as they have threatened. We will continue to work with them to reach an agreement. However, there are things that Salina Regional is saying that simply aren’t true.
SRHC Does Not Get Paid 50% Less
We have been upfront and clear with Salina about reimbursement rates we pay them. They are not paid 50% less than Stormont and they are paid the same as hospitals of similar size. Hospital reimbursement is based on many factors including specialty services offered, patient volume, patient complexity and
more. The publicly available price transparency documents they reference is not information shared by Blue Cross but by hospitals themselves, and it is not accurate.
SRHC Received Additional Funds During Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of inflation hit hospitals hard, as it did our members. So, we stepped up and covered the cost of all COVID-related treatment to ensure hospitals got paid and our members weren’t burdened with high medical costs. In addition, we gave Salina Regional a 2.5% increase in rates last September that continues until Aug. 31, 2023. We used our reserves to cover the cost of all of this. It’s why we have reserves, so we can ease costs for our members when things like this arise. We have to be responsible with our members’ dollars. Hospital demands for drastic increases in reimbursement rates hurt our members.
SRHC Is Still In Network
Salina Regional Health Center is still in network through the end of 2023. Residents don’t need to be alarmed – these discussions take place every year. Typically, these discussions take place one on one with the hospital. Unfortunately, this year, Salina Regional decided to first take the negotiations public by communicating with their employees, other local hospitals, and BCBSKS groups.
We will continue open communication with SRHC and have every reason to believe we will find an answer that benefits both our members and SRHC. We understand there are problems in rural healthcare, but the solution can’t only be for our members to pay more money.
Click HERE to read the original correspondence between BCBS of KS & Salina Regional Health Center.