Memorial Hermann and Blue Cross Blue Shield reach contractual agreement, allowing nearly 200,000 patients to continue their care – Houston Public Media


Macie Kelly/Houston Public Media

Hermann Memorial Hospital at Texas Medical Center on July 24, 2019.

Memorial Hermann Health System and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas announced Friday that the two parties have reached a contractual agreement, allowing nearly 200,000 patients to continue care at Memorial Hermann hospitals.

In a statement, Memorial Hermann said patients with BCBSTX PPO/POS, EPO, Blue Essentials HMO and Medicare Advantage HMO/PPO commercial health plans will be allowed to continue their care without further interruption.

“Networked access to Memorial Hermann affiliated hospitals, facilities and providers is restored for our patients,” the hospital said.

The contract dispute stemmed from a disagreement over the status of Memorial Hermann’s approximately 2,400 independent physicians—Blue Cross wanted to contract with independent physicians directly, while Memorial Hermann wanted the physicians to go through the hospital.

Negotiations broke down last week, resulting in “just under 200,000” Memorial Hermann patients kicked out of the system, according to James McCarthy, executive vice president of Memorial Hermann. McCarthy said last week talks between the two sides would continue even after talks broke down.

In a statement, Blue Cross said the two parties had agreed to a new four-year deal.

“We have great respect for Memorial Hermann,” the statement read. “The health care system plays an important and vital role in providing care to our members and patients. We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with the healthcare system.

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