SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- To prevent tens of thousands of patients from being displaced from their doctors, the not-for-profit Sutter Health network of doctors and hospitals yesterday proposed extending the current transition period with Blue Shield of California through the end of this year, locking in 2014 contract rates and terms. Blue Shield has not accepted the offer. The contract between Blue Shield and Sutter Health expired Dec. 31, and the health insurance company announced it will reassign members to non-Sutter physicians.
"Our proposed longer-term transition agreement would help ensure patients have continued access in 2015 to the doctors Blue Shield promised them during open enrollment," said Stephen Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., Sutter Health chief medical officer. "We believe employers and Blue Shield members deserve the network they purchased."
"Few things are more important than the relationships patients have with their doctors, and our proposal gives patients time to consider alternative health plan options for 2016," he said. "We are surprised Blue Shield hasn't accepted a proposal that essentially locks in the status quo through the remainder of this year."
Blue Shield has not accepted Sutter Health's offer despite these facts:
- Blue Shield sold health plan products during the fall open-enrollment period that featured the doctors and hospitals of Sutter Health; and then just days into the New Year abruptly announced plans to reassign tens of thousands of members to non-Sutter doctors.
- Blue Shield continues to collect rate increases from its members and employers this year of up to 23 percent.
For more information about negotiations with Blue Shield, see frequently asked questions in the Sutter Health newsroom.
Patients or employers who have questions about other health plan options that offer Sutter Health may visit sutterhealth.org/healthplans.
Facts about Sutter Health's Community Commitments
As a not-for-profit organization, Sutter Health does not have shareholders. Any revenue it earns goes right back into community health care services.
Its hospitals care for more Medi-Cal patients in Northern California than anyone else. In 2013, providing care to Medi-Cal patients cost Sutter Health $522 million more than the state paid. Sutter Health understands its role in helping hold the line on health care costs in the United States, and it has worked to make its services more affordable to patients. Sutter Health reduced costs more than $300 million in the past few years.
See how Sutter Health partners with and financially supports community clinics to ensure that those in need have access to primary and specialty care.
About Sutter Health
Serving patients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, Sutter Health doctors, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers share resources and expertise to advance health care quality and access. The Sutter Medical Network includes many of California's top-performing, highest-quality physician organizations as measured annually by the Integrated Healthcare Association. Sutter-affiliated hospitals are regional leaders in cardiac care, women's and children's services, cancer care, orthopedics and advanced patient-safety technology. For more information about the not-for-profit Sutter Health network visit: sutterhealth.org | facebook.com/sutterhealth | youtube.com/sutterhealth | twitter.com/sutterhealth
SOURCE Sutter Health