WOONSOCKET â€“ Landmark Medical Center is asking a Superior Court judge for permission to move forward with a lawsuit accusing Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island of starving the hospital into insolvency with unfairly low reimbursements.
Itâ€™s the latest salvo in an increasingly acrimonious relationship between Landmark and BCBSRI that Landmark President Richard Charest says now jeopardizes the sale â€“ and survival â€“ of the hospital.
â€śFor the better part of four years, we have worked with a team of elected officials, health care stakeholders and others to preserve Landmark and with it, the ability of Northern Rhode Island residents to have access to high-quality hospital care and protect more than 1,200 jobs,â€ť Charest said. â€śUnfortunately, Blue Cross executives have been less than supportive at the State House, the courthouse, and in the court of public opinion...â€ť
Charestâ€™s comments came in a letter Tuesday to state Health Director Michael Fine asking him to deny BCBSRIâ€™s petition to drop Landmark from its provider network. The request became public two weeks ago when BCBSRI sent letters to 198,000 customers in the Greater Woonsocket area notifying them that the insurance company may no longer do business with Landmark after Aug. 1.
If that happened, BCBSRIâ€™s members could still receive treatment at Landmark, but they would be responsible for dealing directly with Blue Cross for claims reimbursement and paying the hospital out of their own pocket. Their health care costs would also rise, because BCBSRI charges more for procedures at out-of-network hospitals.
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