Updated March 30 at 12:29am
health care

RIBGH inserts itself into Blue Cross, Steward conflict


PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Business Group on Health, a coalition of more than 70 employers with more than 50,000 employees, has inserted itself into the ongoing conflict and negotiations between Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Landmark Medical Center and its pending buyer, Steward Health Care.

Currently, future contract negotiations are at an impasse. The existing contract expired on July 16, and beginning as of Aug. 1, Blue Cross has sought to remove Landmark from its provider network. The issue whether or not to approve Blue Cross’s dropping of Landmark is now before R.I. Department of Health Director Dr. Michael Fine, who must approve such a change.

RIGBH offered the following considerations regarding the contract negotiations:

  • Support the R.I. Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher F. Koller’s hospital contracting standards. These include the use of efficiency-based units of payment for services, an annual maximum price increase for services based on Medicare’s calculation, quality incentives based on national standards, and administrative efficiency standards.

  • The establishment of a statewide coordinated health care plan that would address key issues in the delivery of health care in Rhode Island – overcapacity of hospital beds, cost efficiency, community engagement, quality of care, access to care and transparency of cost and quality data.

  • Keep negotiations fruitful, positive and in the best interest of patients and caregivers.

    The group’s release said that using health care dollars to “essentially conduct negotiations in the media and through advertising/public relations is not the way to move toward a successful conclusion nor is it the way to spend health care dollars appropriately.”

    “The ability to create and maintain a ‘right-sized’ health care system that can deliver quality, affordable care is in the interest of all Rhode Islanders,” said RIBGH President Don Nokes. “A partnership between all stakeholders – individuals, businesses, regulators, legislators, caregivers and insurance carriers – is fundamental to this end.” At the same time, he added, all stakeholders must be open to new ideas and competition in health care.”

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