Mission Health president does not expect a BCBS agreement in 2017

President and CEO of Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health System Ron Paulus, MD, told Citizen-Times negotiations between the health system and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in Durham are nonexistent.

A contract between the two parties ends Oct. 5. However, their negotiations are "basically nowhere," Dr. Paulus said. Mission Health declared plans July 5 to leave BCBSNC's provider network due to rate reductions. In response, BCBSNC said it would not negotiate with Mission Health until it lifted the termination.

Dr. Paulus added, "While I don't have a crystal ball and will always hope for the best, based upon current circumstances and Blue Cross's communications, I would imagine we will be in calendar 2018 prior to any agreement."

In response to Citizen-Times' request for comment, BCBSNC spokesperson Austin Vevurka said the payer is "committed to making sure our customers are able to get the care they need." Another BCBSNC spokesperson April Umminger did not provide the publication a projection of when or if a deal may be reached.

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