11/13/13 — Mount Olive town board backs hospital

View Archive

Mount Olive town board backs hospital

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on November 13, 2013 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive town board voted unanimously Tuesday night to support a resolution drafted by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners backing Wayne Memorial Hospital in its contract negotiations with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The discussion on the resolution was led by Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. No other town board commissioners made comments.

"The argument isn't about your treatment, it's about Blue Cross Blue Shield telling the hospital what they can do and what they can't do," McDonald said. "The whole thing is about money. It's not about your care. It's who is going to get your money."

Blue Cross Blue Shield announced in September that it would terminate its contract with Wayne Memorial Hospital effective Dec. 5 after 18 months of negotiations hit an impasse. That deadline has been pushed back to the end of December.

November ushered in another round of negotiations between hospital CEO Bill Paugh and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson, and they still continuing.

Basically, Blue Cross Blue Shield claims that the hospital charges too much for certain procedures while Wayne Memorial Hospital claims the insurance company is using too heavy a hand in attempting to set prices for those procedures.

If Blue Cross Blue Shield terminates its contract, people currently insured by the company would have to pay more for care at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

The resolution supports the hospital's efforts to create a "fair and balanced contract that will not threaten the hospital's financial viability and independence."

The Pikeville Town Board also approved the resolution 4-1 in support of the hospital, although its members said they could not say for certain that the hospital's rates are fair.

The county Board of Education drafted its own resolution in support of the hospital. It stopped short of saying the hospital's rates were fair but called on both parties to resolve the issue.

McDonald said he believes an agreement will be reached.

"Something just ain't right, but I don't believe the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield took a trip down here if they don't believe something could be worked out," McDonald said.