One of the state’s biggest medical insurance providers and one of its largest health care systems have signed a new agreement, ending the threat of a health care crisis for some 53,000 South Sound families.
Regence Blue Shield and Franciscan Health System of Tacoma have completed a new agreement specifying what Regence will pay for health care from Franciscan hospitals and clinics.
Had the two not reached an agreement by April 30, Franciscan facilities would have become non-preferred providers under Regence health plans. Depending on their employers’ health care plans, Regence-covered patients would have received as little as no reimbursement for health care provided at Franciscan. Regence serves 53,000 clients in the South Sound.
Franciscan operates St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood, St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor, St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw. It has also brought Burien’s Highline Hospital into its network, and it is exploring adding Bremerton’s Harrison Hospital to its group.
Rachelle Cunningham, spokeswoman for Regence, said the new two-year agreement was signed Friday.
Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax had written city employees in late March to warn them that their reimbursement for Franciscan care could be eliminated unless Regence and the health care provider reached agreement.
Franciscan had sought an increase in the amounts that Regence pays for health care at its facilities. The health care system said that increase was “in the low single digits.”