Blue Cross/Beaumont Battle Goes Public

DETROIT (WWJ) – A fee dispute between two of Michigan’s health care powerhouses — Blue Cross Blue Shield and Beaumont Health System — has gone public. Beaumont said it will discontinue dealing with patients using Blue Care Network starting in January.

The hospital made the announcement in a full-page newspaper ad Thursday.

WWJ Newsradio 950 talked to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan spokesman Andy Hetzel, who said the Blues would rather hash this out at the bargaining table.

“And, unfortunately, today Beaumont launched some advertising trying to draw conversations that should be happening at the negotiating table into a very visible PR fight between Blue Cross and Beaumont,” Hetzel said.

“We don’t believe that the people of Southeast Michigan really want Blue Cross and Beaumont to be fighting with each other in the media.  They want us to be working together to negotiate a contract that continues Blue Cross members’ access to Beaumont facilities and that’s what our intention is,” he said.

Hetzel said Beaumont already receives about a 15 percent profit on Blue Cross business and is pressing for a major increase in fees.

Beaumont Doctor Sam Flanders said it’s all about money, and there’s a good reason for that.

“We have to be able to have an excellent team here at Beaumont.  We have to be able to retain our top talent and continue to develop them and we need the tools,” said Flanders.

“We are paid about 20 percent less than other area hospitals for the same services, and the sticking point is that Blue Cross is not willing to make up even part of that difference that we’ve asked for,” he said.

Both sides say they’re hoping to get this settled through negotiations.

  • Lindy

    Beaumont, like other hospitals overcharge for their services. You could stay at a grand hotel for what they charge for one night in a double occupied room. Prices for testing, lab, and surgeries is what has gotten out of control, making insurance companies raise their rates to where the common person can’t afford health insurance anymore. It’s time that Beaumont stops overcharging their patients, quit putting money towards new buildings and restaurants and gift shops, and think of their patients first.

  • Ravenmad

    Blue Cross should check into Beaumont’s Affiliated nursing homes, ie; Woodward Hills (in Farmington Hills)Cheery Wood, Shore Pointe and three other nursing homes. They are charging for a therapy room for Medicare patients on the second floor that is the social workers office. They have Aids put in charts that it takes 2 Aids to help a patient when only one does it. So they can charge double the amount.All health care corporations charge way to much, and we have way to many people who can’t afford Ins.

    • kerri

      Ravenmad: You make a good point. I have also experienced seeing charges for daily physician visits, when there were none. There are many other issues that should be checked at the Beaumont facilities as well. “Premiere”, who handles the admissions hand picks patients based on insurance rather than patient care needs. The physicians at Beaumont do not even have a say in admitting their own patients there. My husband was seen by a discharge planner at Beaumont who was really pushing going to Woodward Hills for rehab (he had good insurance and was considered younger as far as nursing homes go). He decided to go home instead. He could not understand why another family member was refused when they really needed it AND had good insurance, good family support, private pay funds, and a plan to return home with family after the nursing home stay–oh, but they were older and somewhat confused–guess they can’t handle that!

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