The changing landscape of local health care is going through yet another change. Scott and White Health Plan members were headed toward limbo after St. Joseph Hospital announced last year that it was ending its provider agreement.
Monday, the Scott and White Health plan announced that its patients can go to the College Station Medical Center beginning February 1st.
When you need help, you don't want to look very far.
Krista DeVries knows that having options in healthcare is a must for her and her children.
I've been with Scott and White since I was young," says DeVries.
"It's important for me, for my kids, to have not just quick care, but the best care. With them, they are so small. The slightest thing can turn into this and that."
Krista, herself, has been with Scott and White Insurance for over ten years. Now, they are partnering up with the College Station Medical Center.
"It's very important that we can get in, and out pretty quick," says DeVries. "Just like everyone, we have day-to-day life that we continue on and kids don't like to wait."
"I think the thing that is important to realize is St. Joes told us they are going to terminate their contract with us on April 30th," says Scott and White Health Plan CEO Allen Einboden.
"We've had an exclusive relationship with St. Joe's for a long time, and we knew that we needed to make sure that we had local care for our patients."
That care can now be found at the Med.
"We thought it was the right thing to do for the community," says College Station Medical Center CEO Tom Jackson.
"We look forward to treating a lot of patients in the community."
The four year agreement will overlap with the opening of the new Scott and White Hospital just across from the Med on Highway 6.
Which is good news for Krista.
"When urgent care is not avaliable, when doctor's offices are not open, We like to get in and out and back to the daily grind," admits DeVries.
The St. Joseph Health System released this statement Monday afternoon:
Although St. Joseph has not been notified by Scott & White Health Plan of any changes to our hospital contract, news reports indicate the Health Plan has entered into an agreement with College Station Medical Center. According to a release, the agreement would make College Station Medical Center an in-network provider for patients with Scott & White insurance.
Based on the limited information available, this contract appears to be a breach of the exclusive hospital contract currently in place between Scott & White Health Plan and the St. Joseph Health System. Because St. Joseph was not informed of SWHP’s intent to breach the contract before the media announcement, St. Joseph has contacted a representative of the Health Plan for additional information. The exclusive contract between St. Joseph and SWHP will expire April 30, 2012. In November, St. Joseph informed Health Plan executives that St. Joseph would honor the contract through April 30, 2012, to avoid inconvenience to local patients and physicians.
As it always has, St. Joseph is honored to care for patients who are covered under SWHP. Additionally, we continue to care for patients who see Scott & White physicians, but are covered by other insurance. Scott and White’s College Station Clinic physicians are members of St. Joseph’s medical staff and continue to admit patients at St. Joseph Regional, expecting excellent care. We continue to deliver award-winning care to patients as we have for 75 years, and encourage patients who prefer to use St. Joseph for reasons of quality or convenience to discuss that with their physician and express their preference.
We regret that SWHP’s actions today leave patients, physicians, and St. Joseph with uncertainty over where Scott & White Health Plan patients are to be cared for in the coming months. St. Joseph continues to have an agreement to be the exclusive provider of hospital services for the Scott & White Health Plan until April 30, 2012, and will honor that commitment.