11 Jan

Medi-Cal talks fail

first_imgLANCASTER – Antelope Valley Hospital will no longer treat Medi-Cal patients covered by Blue Cross of California after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, officials said Monday. Negotiators had extended the contract after it expired in January, but were unable to agree on a new pact, officials said. “They wanted to change the contract to where they shifted the risk from them to us. We are saying we are not interested in taking the risk,” said Les Wong, CEO of the 399-bed hospital. “If costs went up for some reason, they wanted us to pay for it. In the past, it was not a risk to us. We just got paid for the services.” Blue Cross officials disputed Antelope Valley Hospital’s characterization that Blue Cross was exiting the Antelope Valley market in terms of Medi-Cal, which pays for medical services for low-income adults and children. Negotiators for both sides did reach an agreement two weeks ago on Blue Cross’ commercial contract, which includes health-maintenance organizations and preferred-provider organizations. The agreement is for one year, and hospital officials were hopeful an agreement would be reached for an additional two years. Both contracts were set to expire around January but both entities agreed to extend them while talks continued, hospital officials said. Blue Cross of California is a subsidiary of WellPoint Inc., the largest publicly traded commercial health benefits company in terms of membership in the country. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Blue Cross officials said negotiations had gone on with several extensions but the Medi-Cal contract had expired by February because no agreement had been reached. “This is not Blue Cross exiting the market. The contract expired,” Blue Cross spokeswoman Leslie Porras said. “Antelope Valley did not agree on the terms.” Porras said Blue Cross members can continue to receive coverage with the assistance of LA Care, the Los Angeles County administrator for Medi-Cal contracts in the county, which will help people make the transition to a new plan. “Members will not lose coverage automatically, and in some instances will keep their primary care physicians,” Porras said. Porras added that negotiations with Antelope Valley Hospital for the Healthy Families contract, a Medi-Cal contract for children, was continuing. last_img read more