Mission Health

Mission Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced they have reached an agreement, allowing patients covered by the North Carolina's largest insurer will be 'in-network' at facilities operated by Western North Carolina's largest healthcare provider.  The announcement comes exactly two months after Mission officially terminated its contract with Blue Cross.  Their new agreement takes affect on December 15th.

Both sides released a joint statement announcing the agreement -

Just over a month after Mission Health’s contract with Blue Cross expired, the two organizations have gone back to the negotiating  table.  A Blue Cross spokesman confirmed by email that talks are underway, saying, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mission Health have entered into discussions regarding a future network participation agreement and will refrain from public comment until those talks are completed.”

BPR News

The open enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is just around the corner, and uncertainty about costs, subsidies and what policies will actually cover is still growing.  Adding to the anxiety for consumers in Western North Carolina, the only insurer on the exchange is still at odds with the region’s largest health care provider.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports

As of Thursday, Mission Health says its contract with Blue Cross has expired and "essentially all Mission Health physicians and facilities are now out-of-network providers with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina."

Thursday October 5th is the 'termination date' for the contract between Mission Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina.  If no agreement between the two is reached by then, customers of North Carolina's largest insurer will find themselves 'out of network' for non-emergency visits at facilities operated by Western North Carolina's largest healthcare provider.  This would affect hundreds of thousands of people in the region, meaning they would either have to pay more for non-emergency visits, or switch insurers and/or doctors.  There has been little movement between both sides sin

Mission Health announced Thursday it wants to continue accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, but only for those who receive it through the healthcare exchange set up through the Affordable Care Act.  But the insurer rejected Mission's offer, saying it's unfair to those who have Blue Cross Blue Shield through other means, such as their jobs.

Pexels

Mission Health says it may stop accepting Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance later this year, a major decision that would affect thousands throughout Western North Carolina.  Mission said in a statement that if no agreement is reached by October 4th, Blue Cross Blue Shield members would not have ‘in-network’ access to its facilities.  That means patients would have to seek care elsewhere, or pay more out of pocket. 

Operation Heartbeat Two

On the heels of Mission Health’s controversial decision to end Labor and Delivery services at Angel Medical Center, health system officials recently met with concerned citizens of Macon County for a so-called ‘sit-down’.

Mission Health, a hospital system in Western North Carolina, announced this week that it would close its maternity ward at Angel Hospital in Franklin, North Carolina. The hospital serves a mostly low-income, rural population. Mission Health said it cut the hospital’s labor and delivery services to remain solvent in the face of low reimbursement rates.

Davin Eldridge

Angel Medical Center’s board of directors  made it official – later this year, the far-western North Carolina hospital will no longer deliver babies.

Mission Health’s explanation of why it’s ending deliveries at Angel Medical Center – because it loses more than $1-million a year doing so – isn’t sitting well with Macon County residents. Local leadership, including Franklin Mayor Bob Scott and County Commissioner Gary Shields, both pledged their support to locals in protest of Mission Health, and encouraged them to reach out to local government for help.  

Matt Bush BPR

Mission Health says its decision to stop delivering babies at Angel Medical Center in Macon County was made to keep the hospital open.  Mission estimates around 400 children a year are currently born at the Franklin facility, roughly one per day.  CEO Dr. Ronald Paulus says labor and delivery care at Angel Medical loses the hospital between $1 and $2-million per year, which he says puts all the other healthcare done at the facility in jeopardy. “We can’t let one program, even important, put all of the care at risk for a rural community.  We just can’t do it.”

Angel Medical Center, Mapio.net

The decision to stop delivering babies at a Macon County hospital is proving to be an unpopular one in the mountains.  

Angel Medical Center in Franklin has been in the business of delivering babies for more than sixty years, but all of that is about to change come mid-summer.  Mission Health, which runs the small community hospital, announced it will be discontinuing child labor and delivery services at the facility in July.  The decision is unpopular with young people in Macon County.

WCQS

Mountain views, hiking trails an exploding food scene and more breweries per capita than anywhere else in U.S.   It’s easy to see why the Asheville area is spilling over with tourists and newcomers.   The boom is a boost for the economy but often makes for a busier and sometimes more challenging day for police and other first responders whose job it is to care for both tourists and the people who live  here.  WCQS’s Helen Chickering reports.

healthgrove.com

*Updated 5:23 am 12/25/15 - Mission Health President and CEO Ron Paulus offered an explanation for the group's actions in a story in the Asheville Citizen-Times and an interview with television station WLOS.  WLOS provided WCQS with audio of the interview, which we have pos

Mission Health Responds to NPR Injured Nurse Story

Feb 20, 2015
Susannah Kay for NPR

Mission Health has posted a response to NPR's injured nurse story.  The full text is below: