Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has rescinded parts of his executive order meant to force Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi to reinstate 10 hospitals owned by Naples, Fla.-based Health Management Associates into its network, according to a Mississippi Business Journal report.
Gov. Bryant has left intact the portion of his order requiring the state's insurance commissioner to finish conducting an inquiry into why BCBS excluded the Health Management hospitals from its network, according to the report. The health insurer has also withdrawn its lawsuit against the governor.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate granted a request from BCBS for a 14-day temporary restraining order against Gov. Bryant on the grounds that the insurer should have been granted a hearing before the executive order was issued. The insurer and Health Management were scheduled to call witnesses at a hearing today to help the court decide whether the governor's order was proper. Because BCBS withdrew its lawsuit, the hearing has been cancelled.
According to earlier reports, Gov. Bryant issued the temporary order to give the state time to determine whether the BCBS network would provide adequate patient access without the Health Management hospitals. Earlier this year, BCBS sent a termination notice to Health Management informing the company it intended to ax its contracts with 10 of the hospital operator's Mississippi facilities after they all sued the insurer, claiming the payer has been underpaying them by millions for certain inpatient procedures.
Last month, BCBS announced it would reinstate four of the hospitals — Woman's Hospital in Flowood, Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville, Gilmore Regional Medical Center in Amory and Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale. The hospitals have been out of network since September, although Health Management has not been charging those patients out-of-network rates.
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