Blue Cross, U of Mississippi Medical Center remain at impasse months after agreeing to mediation

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi and Jackson-based University of Mississippi Medical Center have yet to reach a new contract more than four months after the sides agreed to a mediator, Mississippi Today reported Sept. 20.  

UMMC went out of network with BCBS April 1. After the state insurance commissioner's urging, the sides agreed to use a mediator on April 27. The payer and provider agreed on May 9 to have Walter Johnson, senior counsel at the law firm Watkins & Eager, serve as the mediator in the dispute.    

A UMMC spokesperson told Mississippi Today there is "no update at this point" on mediation proceedings. 

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney told the news outlet he has not had any contact with either party or the meditator since before Sept. 5. Under state rules, Mr. Chaney is not allowed to directly mediate or help settle contract disputes between payers and providers. 

BCBS sued UMMC medical executives July 28, alleging they conducted a defamatory public relations campaign against the payer after the contract was terminated. Mississippi Today said it is unclear how the lawsuit has impacted progress of mediation talks. 

Mr. Chaney sent a letter to BCBS July 1 informing it that the state will be conducting an examination to determine whether the company is following state network adequacy regulations because UMMC provides specialty care that cannot be found elsewhere in the state, according to the report. Mr. Chaney said the review is nearly complete but cannot be finished until UMMC provides his office with materials that have been subpoenaed.

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