BCBS expected to drop U of Mississippi Medical Center

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi is expected to drop University of Mississippi Medical Center hospitals, clinics and physicians from its network April 1 following a contract dispute.

The contract between Jackson-based UMMC, the state's only academic medical center, and BCBS of Mississippi ends March 31, according to a March 28 press release. 

The state and school employees’ health plan, managed by BCBS, is not a part of the contract.

In the last 18 months, more than 50,000 patients with a qualifying BCBS plan received care at a UMMC facility, a UMMC spokesperson told Becker's.

UMMC operates more than 200 hospitals, clinics and telehealth sites throughout Mississippi.

UMMC has requested a rate increase "that moves us closer to — not equal to or more than — market rates," said Alan Jones, MD, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs at UMMC. "It is essential that UMMC be paid in line with comparable academic medical centers in regional cities like New Orleans, Memphis and Birmingham."

"BCBSMS did not force UMMC out of our network; they chose to cancel their network agreement," a BCBS spokesperson told Becker's. "We have been trying to work with UMMC since early 2021 to renew their network hospitals, but we have found them unwilling to accept our efforts to provide fair and equitable reimbursement aligned with the current healthcare landscape. UMMC wants to be treated differently from all the other providers in our network."

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