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Blue Cross, Hospitals Reach an Agreement

July 09, 1998|HILARY E. MacGREGOR

Blue Cross of California and the Catholic HealthCare West hospital chain have reached an eleventh-hour agreement to continue to provide services together.

The contract between Blue Cross and Catholic HealthCare West was scheduled to expire at midnight Tuesday.

Catholic HealthCare West runs St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo and St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard.

Catholic HealthCare West wanted reimbursement rate increases for the Blue Cross patients it handled. Blue Cross refused the terms.

Both sides were so pessimistic about reaching a settlement that they publicly issued a transition plan earlier this week.

Now patients will be able to resume services as before.

"Both parties worked long and hard to work this out. Negotiations continued right up to our deadline of midnight last night," said Andrew Allocco, Blue Cross Senior Vice President of Network Development and Management, in a statement Wednesday. 'We are pleased that the CHW hospitals will remain in the Blue Cross network of over 400 facilities."

Rhonda Seaton, a spokeswoman for Blue Cross, would not elaborate on the agreement or say whether Catholic HealthCare West will receive a higher reimbursement rate.

She said, however, that with the latest agreement with Catholic HealthCare West, Blue Cross now holds contracts with the six largest hospital systems in the state.

This will strengthen the Blue Cross network and allow Blue Cross to bring down long-term costs for large employers, she said.

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