MOUNT VERNON — The negotiations between the Knox Community Hospital Physicians Group and the health care insurance company Anthem/Blue Cross/Blue Shield remain at an impasse, and there has been no apparent progress toward a compromise since September 2011.
Prema Samhat, director of marketing/community relations at KCH, said Anthem and the hospital had exchanged several proposals in April but failed to reach an agreement.
“We are back to square one,” said Kim Ashley, public relations director for Anthem Ohio. “Knox is still requesting a significant increase that ultimately impacts our members’ health care costs — we’re standing firm about keeping their benefits affordable and will continue to negotiate on our customers’ behalf.”
Ashley added that Anthem is committed to keeping KCH’s reimbursement in line with other providers of the same size and scope.
Bruce Behner, spokesman for the KCH physician’s group, said Anthem offered a 1 percent reimbursement increase in January, which the physicians felt was a significantly below-market proposal and therefore unreasonable.
“Equitable payment from all payors, including Anthem,” he said, “is absolutely necessary to attract and retain physicians locally. ... The physicians and the hospital are very dismayed that Anthem is walking away from the table and that they refuse to work toward common ground at this stage of the negotiation. This issue impacts a lot of people in and around Knox County. To now simply ignore the attempts to work toward a mutually beneficial arrangement, we believe, shows a lack of recognition of the needs and desires of the employers and employees in the area who pay for the insurance premiums and for the local physicians employed by KCH.”
Ashley said Anthem members can access other doctors in the region who are in-network providers. The News discovered there are only about half a dozen physicians in the immediate area who are not KCH-employed physicians.