By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Scott & White Hospital officials announced Thursday that the hospital will join the Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Texas network access effective Jan. 1, 2006.
This will open the hospital to a network of more than 320,000 BCBST members that live in the surrounding counties; 20,000 of those are in Bell County alone, the announcement said.
Dr. Alfred Knight, Scott & White president, said in the announcement that the agreement represents a long-anticipated goal that will give more patients ready access to the hospital and academic medical center.
He said the agreement means that people with specialized needs will not have to travel to medical centers in big cities.
Scott & White will retain its own health maintenance organization, but Knight said the hospital has been working to expand its availability beyond its own health plan, Medicare and Medicaid.
Metroplex Health System in Killeen signed an agreement with Blue Cross in June, extending its contract for three years after negotiating over reimbursement rates for almost a year.
Metroplex officials did not return calls for comments Thursday afternoon.
Scott & Whites announcement noted that it is adding almost 600,000 square feet to its Temple facilities with its Center for Advanced Medicine and Center for Diagnostic Medicine.
Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Texas is the only statewide, non-investor-owned health coverage provider in Texas.
Knight said, Blue Cross members already go out of network, turning to Scott & White. This agreement will result in more benefits and fewer out-of-pocket costs.
Pat Hemingway Hall, president of BCBST, said, This agreement allows us to achieve one of our main goals for our members, expanding our network of conveniently located participating facilities and providers and providing greater access to cost-effective, quality care.
Contact Don Bolding at dbolding@kdh