By Mary McGuire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A contract fight between a Twin Cities hospital and an insurance company has both sides preparing for disruptions.

Unless an agreement is reached, Children’s Minnesota will be out-of-network to more than 66,000 Blue Cross-Blue Shield patients in just over a week.

Being the largest children’s hospital in the state of Minnesota, this would impact thousands of families who would be paying much more for the care they receive here.

Those at the hospital say the insurance company gave them an impossible ultimatum, claiming they must accept double-digit reductions to Medicaid rates, which in turn would cut services.

The insurance company says they have tried to work with the hospital by putting forth alternative offers that have been continually tossed aside.

Blue Cross-Blue Shield maintains the current number on the table means they would pay Children’s the same rates for Medicaid services as the state of Minnesota.

With both sides at an impasse, doctors at Children’s Hospital are now making a plea to the public.

“I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve supported our kids through thick and thin, how many times we’ve helped our kids to stand up to their bullies, and now we need your help to stand up to ours.  Remind Blue Cross-Blue Shield to stop nickel and diming kids,” Dr. Gigi Chawla said.

In a statement, the insurance company says its “medical team is working very closely with Children’s to transition the care of patients to in-network providers,” and going on to write that they want members to know that “no matter what happens, every member will have the access to the care they need.”

Anxiety over this stalemate is growing as negotiations are coming down to the wire before the deadline of July 5.

The insurance company says it has several pediatric hospitals standing by in case a deal can’t be reached between the two parties.

Part of the reason some families decide to go to Children’s is because of the specialized treatment they can get there. The hospital claims more than 6,000 children in need of specialized care would be impacted. They believe they couldn’t get the same level of care somewhere else.


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