by Victor Lopez
ODESSA - If you bought your own coverage with Blue Cross/Blue Shield or if you get it through your employer, the next time you see a doctor at Medical Center, a needle in the arm won't be the only "stick" you'll feel. You'll feel one in your pocket book too.
According to Chief Financial Officer Robert Abernethy, "After several months of continued discussions, unfortunately MCH and BC/BS of Texas have been unable to reach an agreement on a new Provider Contract. Effective today, April 1st, Medical Center will be considered an out of network provider."
If you are one of the over 30 thousand people in the Permian Basin with Blue Cross, there's no need to panic. You can still be treated at Medical Center, it's just going to cost you a little bit more when you do.
Abernethy says, "We welcome Blue Cross patients. We'll continue to provide that high quality health care service. It may mean a little higher out of the pocket cost."
Medical Center gets reimbursed everytime they treat a patient who has Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
But over the years, costs for equipment have been more than the reimbursements.
Abernethy explains, "In the current provider agreement, we have agreed on a specific level of re-imbursement. In the last fiscal, year our re-imbursement from servicing Blue Cross patients, our cost was 1.9 million dollars more than the re-imbursement."
But officials say this wont affect the level of treatment medical center offers, "I want to assure everyone that MCH will continue to provide high quality health care to all individuals, including Blue Cross beneficiaries," Abernathy said.
Now, If your insurance carrier is a factor on whether or not Medical Center is your choice of hospital, remember what Robert Abernethy says, "That's a choice they would have to make. We can't make it for them."
Your exact amount of out of pocket expense will of course depend on your individual plan.