Lawmakers press CareFirst, Johns Hopkins on contracting dispute

Maryland's Congressional Delegation is urging CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Johns Hopkins Health System to resolve their contract dispute before the Dec. 5 deadline. 

Maryland Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, along with seven of the state's eight representatives, sent a letter to the CEOs of CareFirst and Johns Hopkins Health System Oct. 20. 

"We continue to hear from many of our constituents with concerns that a breakdown in negotiations between Hopkins and CareFirst would greatly impede their access to primary and specialty care moving forward," the lawmakers wrote. 

Johns Hopkins will be out of network with CareFirst on Dec. 5 if the two sides do not reach an agreement. 

Kevin Sowers, MSN, RN, Johns Hopkins Health System president, told the Baltimore Sun in September that the cost of providing care has risen 21 percent in the past decade, but CareFirst's proposed rate increase for providers was only 10 percent. 

According to the lawmakers' letter, nearly 40,000 providers will be out-of-network for CareFirst members if the two sides don't reach an agreement. 

Johns Hopkins has nearly 300,000 CareFirst members as patients, Maryland Matters reported Oct. 18. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told Maryland Matters Oct. 18 that his office will put "as much pressure as possible" on the two companies to resolve the dispute. 

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