October 19, 2020/Houston, TX — On June 17, 2020, after months of discussions and negotiations, St. Luke’s Health, including Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, issued a written 180-day Notice of Termination with Intent to Renegotiate to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). St. Luke’s doctors, nurses and staff work tirelessly to care for our communities. Unfortunately, BCBSTX for years has reimbursed St. Luke’s Health at rates far below those of other similar healthcare providers in the market.
St. Luke’s Health comprises 16 hospitals located in Houston, Bryan/College Station, and East Texas, including the renowned Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC). BSLMC is an academic health center providing quaternary care. We are a non-profit health system serving 75,000 people in an inpatient setting and 955,000 people via outpatient visits each year. During our fiscal year ended June 2019, we provided $115 million of charity care to the community.
The cutting edge cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes, transplant and surgical care provided at St. Luke’s Health and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, amongst other hospitals, are in jeopardy without reasonable reimbursement rates from BCBSTX. We cannot continue to help BCBSTX achieve its multi-billion dollar annual, at the expense of our ability to provide quality care for our communities.
The following is a statement from Dr. T. Doug Lawson, CEO of St. Luke’s Health, regarding the 180-day Notice and ongoing negotiations:
“It is unfortunate that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has not been more willing to reimburse at levels that enable us to provide essential services. We were forced to issue the notice in an effort to motivate Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to agree to rates that enable us to preserve access and care to critical health services for the patients we serve throughout our region, especially as our community reels from the impact of COVID-19.
“Our sincerest hope - and our belief - is that we can work together to achieve a reasonable agreement to ensure access to essential services are available for patients and employers across the region.”
If St. Luke’s is unable to reach a mutual agreement with BCBSTX by December 16, 2020, the termination will take effect. During this period, St. Luke’s Health remains in-network with BCBSTX.