Official statement by John Maginnis, Spokesperson, Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Louisiana

 

The Willis-Knighton Health System recently let us know that it plans to remove its doctors from all Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana provider networks.

According to the health system, May 15, 2014, will be the last day its doctors will participate in Blue Cross or HMO Louisiana, Inc., provider networks. Please note: This action affects only the doctors who work in the Willis-Knighton Health System, not the Willis-Knighton hospitals.

Why this is happening
Willis-Knighton is removing its doctors from our networks because we simply cannot agree to their demand for higher payments and special terms that are unreasonable and outside of the typical provider agreement.
We already pay Willis-Knighton doctors the same or more than other doctors in the network for the care they give. Agreeing to their new terms would make costs higher for everyone. And because of the high cost of medical care, health insurance in the Shreveport area already costs more than most other places in Louisiana.
We are continuing to talk with Willis-Knighton System officials in hopes of reaching an agreement that will be fair to our customers and to the people of Shreveport. We sincerely hope they will work with us to come to an agreement that will hold down the cost of healthcare while improving quality in the Shreveport area and provide uninterrupted access to quality healthcare.

Blue Cross has agreements with other quality physicians and ancillary providers who can serve our members. Additionally, some physicians who are part of the Willis-Knighton Physician Network have other office locations that are not part of the Willis-Knighton system. Those physicians may still be in network when they see patients at those additional locations only.

When will this happen:
For Blue Cross and HMO Louisiana Members ONLY:
For Blue Cross and HMO Louisiana members, these providers will be out of network beginning May 16. If an agreement is not reached, Blue Cross and HMO Louisiana members will be mailed a letter explaining what they can expect if they see a Willis-Knighton Physician Network doctor out of network.

For Federal Employee Program Members ONLY:
Because the Willis-Knighton Physician Network has told us it will end its network participation, the Federal Employee Program requires us to notify Program members as early as possible. The letter must explain that we will continue to provide benefits for covered services from these doctors at the Preferred level for 90 days from the mail date of the letter. Federal Employee Program members have been mailed this letter already.

How we let our members know
If a healthcare provider informs us that it is terminating our contract, we are required by law to give our members at least a 30-day notice of the termination date.

Some providers begin contract negotiations by sending us an official termination notice. When this happens, we are legally obligated to notify our members. When a provider begins negotiations in good faith, and not with a termination notice, we are not required to send these notices.