October 5, 2017

A Letter from Our CEO – What’s Next?

Dear patients, families and neighbors:

It is with great regret that I inform you that as of today, Mission Health is out of network with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Since, as you know, they wouldn’t consider my offers to compromise or even talk, I guess this isn’t much of a surprise.

Important exceptions to Mission Health being out of network include:

  • Emergency care, which always remains in network regardless of our network status with BCBSNC
  • Blue Cross Federal employees who will remain in network until November 16th
  • Care for patients with certain conditions who qualify for Continuity of Care
  • Care for patients whose care would otherwise be unduly delayed because of a lack of access to physicians or facilities without Mission Health
  • CarePartners physical therapy services, which go out of network on March 3, 2018
  • Services related to Blue Cross Medicare Supplement health plans.

Out of network or in network, insurance or no insurance, we continue to stand by and with every person in need of care. No matter what.

We will continue to reach out to Blue Cross, just as we have for nearly a year, and we remain forever hopeful that conversations may begin anew. I know that doesn’t change the challenges you may face because of this situation, and for that, I am sincerely sorry.

We take our commitment to be your partner in health, healing and wellness very seriously – and that will never change. We know you have a lot to consider when you are choosing the care that best meets your needs, and it is both frustrating and devastating to me that a health insurance company can impact, dictate and take away your choice.

While your health plan benefits or coverage may have changed, Mission Health’s doors across western North Carolina are and will always remain open to you.

As one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems, I hope that our commitment to ensuring the highest standards and quality of care for every patient, every time, is meaningful when it comes to your choice of where to seek care. Quality matters.

That said, I know that cost and convenience are also important factors, and we will continue to work WITH you to make sure you have that and more – no matter your insurance status. We know it’s complicated and we would never expect our patients and families to navigate their insurance plan or provider network alone. Your care starts before any treatment and extends beyond the bedside or doctor’s office. No matter what questions you have or support you need, we are here to help you online, by phone and in person. We will ensure that you understand how you are impacted and we will discuss your options to continue receiving the care you need from the people you rely on and the doctors you trust.

As we move forward together, I look forward to sharing updates with you. However, we will not make any further public comment about the contract situation under any circumstances until such time that it is fully resolved. The approach, content and pattern of communication from BCBSNC over the last four months has created a high likelihood of a circumstance where people could be misled by statements like ‘we’re close,’ even if we aren’t even speaking. Should a contract ever be reached between Mission and BCBSNC, we will announce it immediately. Until then, Mission’s focus is exclusively on helping people who need care and people who are evaluating alternative health insurance options in the marketplace. Any BCBSNC employers or Medicare Advantage members in western North Carolina who want in-­network access to Mission providers should immediately find other coverage.

In the meantime, remember that we are still here to answer your questions and walk you through your insurance coverage by phone, (828) 412-6052, and in person. Our website has been updated with resources and information, including a step-by-step healthcare plan checklist, now that we are out of network: missionstandswithyou.org.

I wish this could be easier – I wish healthcare wasn’t as complex as it is because everyone deserves access to care – whether it’s basic, preventative or lifesaving care. Our priority is ALWAYS YOU – the people we serve. We will continue to provide the care you need. No matter what.

Best regards,

Ronald A. Paulus, MD
President and CEO
Mission Health

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