BCBS, U of Mississippi Medical Center contract mediations 'suspended indefinitely'

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney suspended mediations between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center after six weeks without progress, NBC affiliate WLBT reported Oct. 11. 

Mr. Chaney told the network the two sides were not communicating, leading him to suspend mediations "indefinitely." 

BCBS and Jackson-based UMMC have been out of network since April 1, unable to agree on provider reimbursement rates. There are around 750,000 Mississippi residents affected by the dispute, WLBT reported.

"I predict that we'll probably have some type of agreement within the next few weeks, and if not, we'll let the legislature and the governor decide what they want to do," Mr. Chaney told WLBT. 

Mr. Chaney told Mississippi's House and Senate Insurance Committee Oct. 3 to consider legislation that would prevent payers and providers from canceling contracts outside of the 90-day window before an open enrollment period. 

The two organizations agreed to mediation by Walter Johnson, senior counsel at law firm Watkins and Eager, on April 27, but made little progress toward an agreement, according to reports. 

UMMC is the state's only safety-net hospital and singular provider of many services, raising concerns that BCBS is not meeting network adequacy requirements and leaving patients with few to no options for covered care.

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