Sarasota Memorial, Blue Cross come to terms on new contract

File photo of Sarasota Memorial Hospital
File photo of Sarasota Memorial Hospital(WWSB)
Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 2:31 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - An 11th-hour deal between Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Florida Blue has averted a shutdown of coverage for patients across the Suncoast, it was reported Wednesday.

“Today, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System reached a three-year renewal agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Florida Blue (BCBS),” the hospital announced in a news release.

The agreement provides uninterrupted “in-network” coverage to BCBS members seeking care at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the health system’s network of outpatient and urgent care services, First Physicians Group physicians and advanced practice providers, the hospital said.

The agreement also will cover services provided at the new hospital Sarasota Memorial is opening in Venice this fall.

If an agreement had not been reached by Wednesday, SMH would have no longer been a participating provider for patients with Blue Cross insurance coverage.

It is the second time that a contract impasse nearly derailed coverage for Blue Cross customers. In 2018, a new three-year contract was signed just a day before the old one expired.

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield/Florida Blue has been a valued partner of ours for decades and we look forward to working with them to continue providing high-quality, affordable care to patients in our community,” said SMH CEO David Verinder.

Terms of the new agreement are confidential. The contract will be effective through June 30, 2024.

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