BCBSMA, Southcoast Health reach contract agreement

BOSTON – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Southcoast Health System have agreed on a four-year contract after weeks of negotiations.

The two sides announced the agreement Friday.

The contract “reflects our mutual commitment of meeting the needs of our members and patients across the South Coast region,” according to a shared statement.

The new agreement “reflects both the urgency to address rising health care costs while providing the necessary resources required by Southcoast Health to continue investing in its clinicians, technology and innovative services,” the statement read.

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Contract disputes between the insurer and southeastern Massachusetts health system attracted public attention after Southcoast’s president and CEO Keith A. Hovan wrote about the issue in a letter to the editor that was published in a Massachusetts newspaper.

According to Southcoast, between 60,000 and 80,0000 hospital and primary care patients were at risk of losing access to Southcoast facilities on Jan. 1, 2020 if the contract with Blue Cross was not renewed.

Southcoast Health includes Charlton Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN staff writer. She can be reached at Graham@pbn.com. 

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