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Coverage may return to four hospitals


The Associated Press



FLOWOOD -- Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi has announced an offer to reinstate network provider agreements with four of 10 Health Management Associates hospitals in the state. 


Monday's announcement was the latest development in a dispute that has been going on for months. 


The insurer sent a termination notice to HMA's 10 Mississippi hospitals on June 25. 


HMA had sued Blue Cross of Mississippi for $13 million a week earlier, claiming the insurer underpaid for some procedures. Blue Cross has said the suit is baseless. 


Since Sept. 1, the 10 HMA hospitals have been out-of-network for Blue Cross, meaning patients eventually could face higher out-of-pocket expenses. 


The dispute continues, but Blue Cross said in its Monday news release it is willing to reinstate network coverage for Gilmore Memorial Regional Medical Center in Amory; Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale; Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville; and Woman's Hospital in Flowood. 


"As to the other HMA hospitals, significant issues regarding HMA's charges and lack of focus on managing healthcare costs are still of great concern," Meredith Virden, spokeswoman for the insurer said in a news release. 


HMA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.




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