Anthem files to overturn order temporarily extending Northside network contract

Anthem filed a pair of motions Jan. 7 that aim to end a temporary court order requiring it keep Atlanta-based Northside Hospital System in its network.

On Dec. 30, a Georgia court ordered that a state law required Anthem to maintain its network agreement with Northside past the previous Dec. 31 deadline until Feb. 1. The parties' network agreement provides in-network rates for 400,000 members. 

Anthem's motions — one facility and one professional — seek to overturn the Dec. 30 agreement, which would allow the payer to terminate the network contract, according to court documents. 

Northside said that the move comes as nearly half of its inpatient beds are filled with COVID-19 patients, according to a Jan. 11 news release

"If Anthem’s request is allowed, more than 400,000 Anthem patients will be immediately separated from their Northside doctors and be out-of-network for Northside hospitals, clinics, and physician practices – all while the COVID-19 winter surge continues with the highest levels of cases yet seen," the provider said. 

Anthem told Becker's that it began good faith negotiations with Northside seven months ago to ensure access to care, but is still at an impasse. 

"We have given Northside a proposal with generous increases – one they could sign immediately – yet they have refused," Anthem said in a statement to Becker's. "Northside wishes to continue operating under a contract that will not achieve the affordability or quality improvements we have been seeking, and our members deserve. We'd like Northside to join us in focusing solely on reaching an agreement that is in the best interests of consumers."

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