North Carolina reimbursement dispute gets personal

North Carolina hospitals should sign a contract with the state's health plan, state employees urged in a personalized public relations campaign, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

The campaign concerns a dispute over the State Health Plan's move to lower reimbursement rates for hospitals and providers. The cuts would come as North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell aims to move the health plan and its nearly 730,000 members to a government-pricing model instead of a commercial model. 

Hospitals and providers that don't sign Mr. Folwell's Clear Pricing Project may become out of network for State Health Plan members beginning Jan. 1. To date, only four of the state's 126 hospitals and 27,000 providers have signed on, according to the report.

In an attempt to garner more support, the State Employees Association of North Carolina launched a public relations campaign on Facebook and pasted statements on its website to persuade more providers to sign on to the Clear Pricing Project. 

In the Facebook message, SEANC tells healthcare system boards to "do the right thing ... sign the State Health Plan contract," according to the Winston-Salem Journal. It continued: "Are you really going to turn your back on the 130,000 teachers, troopers and civil servants in your community? Tell them we're done paying for overpriced care and our SHP is no longer their piggy bank."

The North Carolina Healthcare Association opposes the Clear Pricing Project. The organization is supporting its own campaign calling on state lawmakers to block Mr. Folwell from following through with his plans. The NCHA told the Winston-Salem Journal the SEANC's public relations campaign goes "a step too far."

"While North Carolina hospitals, health systems and doctors have been locked in a heated debate with the state treasurer about the future of the State Health Plan, none of the parties have taken the attacks to a personal level," the NCHA said in a statement to the Winston-Salem Journal.

In July, an administrator from Greensboro, N.C.-based Cone Health made headlines after firing off an email to the board of the State Health Plan that read, "Burn in hell, you sorry SOBs." The email was in response to the proposed plan.

Read more here.

Editor's note: This article was updated to include more information from the NCHA.

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