By Natalie Younts

Killeen Daily Herald

A negotiator representing Metroplex Health System signed an agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas on Friday, extending their contract for three years, according to Metroplex officials.

The health system and insurance company have been haggling over reimbursement rates for almost a year. They twice extended their contract termination date initially from May 14 to May 31, then to June 30, to give more time for negotiations.

We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with Blue Cross that continues to provide Blue Cross patients access to all inpatient, outpatient and emergency services with no interruption of services, Ken Finch, Metroplex president and CEO, said in a statement.

Throughout the entire process, we were optimistic that we could reach a decision that was mutually agreeable to Metroplex and Blue Cross and that remained beneficial to our patients.

The negotiation process proved to be a challenging time for everyone; however, once negotiations began, we were able to work smoothly with Blue Cross to reach an agreement.

Margaret Jarvis, spokeswoman for BCSTX, said late Friday afternoon that a contract had not been signed, and an agreement has not been reached.

Unfortunately, some people are interpreting close to mean, OK, were there, she said.

She said BCBSTX is still meeting with the Adventist Health System.

We are negotiating in good faith, she said. Things look good; theyre coming along well.

Doug Bendall, spokesman for Metroplex, said representatives signed the contract and sent it on. He compared the process to signing a mortgage, in which different people must sign it.

We did agree to it and signed off, he said. If they have not signed it, that would be something that they would know.

Bendall said the negotiator is representing all Texas Adventist System hospitals, including Rollins Brook Community Hospital in Lampasas.

Bendall said he did not know what reimbursement rates were agreed upon or whether they would be released in the future.

The contract didnt come to us at Metroplex it was through corporate people, he said.

The hospital purchased an ad for the Sunday edition of the Killeen Daily Herald announcing that it had reached an agreement with BCBSTX. The signed agreement is effective immediately, according to Metroplex.

Contact Natalie Younts at

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