To Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma members of Grady County:
This letter is in response to recent misleading reports about negotiations between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) and Grady Memorial Hospital (GMH). BCBSOK was not given the opportunity to participate in this news outlet's published story, so I want to set the record straight.
Here are the facts:
- We negotiated with GMH in good faith. Despite a negotiation spanning 18 months, BCBSOK and GMH were unable to reach mutually agreeable terms prior to July 1, 2019, when GMH's in-network agreement with BCBSOK expired. Throughout the negotiation process, BCBSOK maintained communication with GMH and suggestions otherwise are false.
- We are committed to being good stewards of our members' health care dollars. We know that health care is a major expense for most families and we owe it to our members to do everything we can to manage costs appropriately. As a not-for-profit, member-owned health insurer, we will always seek to establish fair rates with all hospitals in our networks, and GMH is no exception.
- BCBSOK members can continue to receive care at in-network levels through Oct. 28, 2019. All services, other than emergency services, will be processed as out-of-network beginning Oct. 29, 2019.
- BCBSOK is dedicated to health care access in rural communities like those in Grady County. Collaborative grant and scholarship programs with Oklahoma State Medical Association, Physician Manpower Training Group and the Oklahoma Youth Expo are just a few ways BCBSOK is committed to rural communities. The BCBSOK Mobile Assistance Center also travels to all of Oklahoma's 77 counties, meeting members where they are in both rural and urban areas.
I want to assure the citizens of Grady County that BCBSOK's priority is to help our members experience as little inconvenience as possible. Members can visit our website, BCBSOK.com, to find other in-network hospitals and doctors. Members can also log in to Blue Access for Members or call the number on the back of their member ID card for assistance.
Joseph R. Cunningham, M.D.
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma