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Grady hospital ‘out of network’ for Blue Cross Blue Shield members

Contract standoffs between hospital systems and health insurers typically have a way of being resolved -- often right before a deadline.

But high-stakes negotiations between Grady Health System and Georgia’s biggest insurer failed to produce a new contract before the midnight deadline Sunday.

That means Grady Memorial Hospital is now “out of network” for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia members. Patients with Blue Cross insurance will face higher out-of-pocket costs at the Atlanta hospital and its clinics.

Contract negotiations had been underway for a year.

Grady recently had launched a publicity campaign to call attention to low reimbursements from Blue Cross, saying those payments were lower than the insurer’s rates for other comparable hospitals in Atlanta and throughout the state.

Lindsay Caulfield, senior vice president of public affairs at Grady, said in a statement Monday that Blue Cross “pays our health system up to 70 percent less than it pays other Georgia hospitals. By paying us unfairly low rates, Blue Cross Blue Shield has long put Grady at a disadvantage and threatens our long-term sustainability.”

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