County board passes resolution supporting Wayne Memorial Hospital
By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 6, 2013 1:46 PM
Wayne Memorial Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield have resumed their contract negotiations, Wayne County Commissioner Joe Daughtery told his fellow board members Tuesday.
To support those efforts, commissioners unanimously approved a resolution supporting the hospital's side of the argument.
Blue Cross Blue Shield claims the hospital charges too much for certain procedures. The hospital says the insurance company is trying to dictate how much it can charge.
Daughtery, who serves on the hospital board, made the motion to approve the resolution.
Blue Cross Blue Shield announced in early September that it would terminate its contract with the hospital effective Dec. 5. The announcement came after 18 months of negotiations failed to reach an agreement.
However, last week Wayne Memorial Hospital CEO Bill Paugh and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson restarted the negotiations.
"Hopefully they will finalize a new contract," Daughtery said. "I know that many in our community are stressed over that. Things do look a lot more positive today than they were just a few weeks ago.
"We are hopeful that all of the parties will come to an agreement before the end of the month."
The resolution supports the hospital's efforts to secure a "fair and balanced contract that will not threaten the hospital's financial viability and independence."
It specifically says that the figures used by Blue Cross Blue Shield in its argument "are not factually correct."
Failure to renew the contract would have a "detrimental effect" on local businesses, government employees and state employees, the resolution read. It adds that terminating the contract would have a "detrimental effect on the financial strength" of the hospital as well.
Commissioners had tabled the vote on the resolution at their Sept. 17 session to allow the county's other elected boards a chance to endorse the resolution to present a united front backing the hospital.
That support has not been unanimous. The county Board of Education came up with its own resolution calling for an agreement, but school board members stopped short of saying the hospital is completely in the right.
The Pikeville Town Board voted Monday night to support the resolution, but several board members said they could not say for certain that the hospital did not overcharge for some services.