April 30, 2010

Blue Cross Reaches Agreement with CHRISTUS Schumpert Health System and Medical Center Anesthesiologists


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is pleased to announce that the CHRISTUS Schumpert Health System and Medical Center Anesthesiologists have worked together to ensure Blue Cross members in the Shreveport area have access to in-network anesthesiologist services.

This means Blue Cross customers can count Medical Center Anesthesiologists as part of their Blue Cross and HMO Louisiana networks as of April 15, 2010.

Blue Cross officials expressed satisfaction that members will be able to continue to access in-network anesthesiologist services through Medical Center Anesthesiologists and CHRISTUS Schumpert. "These are both well-respected organizations, and I am pleased they have come together to work in the best interests of our members," said Blue Cross President and CEO Mike Reitz.

"Healthcare reform is both a national and local concern, and all stakeholders - customers, healthcare providers and insurance companies - must work together to keep high-quality healthcare accessible for the people of Louisiana," Reitz said. "Medical Center Anesthesiologists and CHRISTUS Schumpert are great examples of what can happen when we work together."

As background, most of the time when a patient gets anesthesia at a hospital, two people are involved in administering it - a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) who performs the service and an anesthesiologist who directs or supervises it. Each professional bills Blue Cross for the entire service.

In other parts of the state, the CRNAs work for the anesthesiology group, so the Blue Cross payment goes to one place. In Shreveport, the CRNAs are employed by the hospital, not the anesthesiology group, so in the past, Blue Cross paid the first bill received. This meant one party received 100 percent and the other received nothing.

Blue Cross recently changed this to conform to industry best practices. Instead of paying only one entity, the insurance company now splits the payment between the anesthesiologist and the CRNA. This has been challenging for Shreveport anesthesiologists who, in most cases, received 100 percent of the payment.

However, these two Shreveport entities - Medical Center Anesthesiologists and CHRISTUS Schumpert - have worked together to solve the issue in a way that is fair to all parties.

"We are grateful that these two fine organizations have come together for the benefit of so many people," Reitz said. "As a non-profit mutual company owned by our members, we take our responsibility to manage their money wisely as a serious obligation. Going forward, we will continue to work as an advocate for our members' access to quality, affordable healthcare."

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) is the oldest and largest Louisiana-based health insurance company. BCBSLA is a not-for-profit, fully taxed mutual insurer, owned by policyholders and governed by a local Board of Directors. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

The company provides group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to more than 1.1 million members. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana employs more than 1,700 Louisianians who are committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care.

Learn more on the company's website at or on Facebook at Follow Blue Cross on Twitter at and CEO Mike Reitz at

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