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Patient Letter

Patient Letter

Blue Cross Blue Shield Patients,

It is important for you to know that we have been attempting to negotiate a new contract with Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) for over a year and our deadline for reaching an agreement is quickly approaching. If we are not able to reach an agreement, this could potentially affect you or members of your family’s in-network access to care from your OU Health Physicians provider(s).

We understand that this is currently a very stressful time with the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting our lives, our health and the precautions we must all take to stay safe and healthy. At OU Health Physicians, we are concerned about this more than ever and have been very intent on reaching an agreement with BCBS before an out-of-network status is reached. We remain hopeful that negotiations will begin in good faith but also remain concerned about the impending deadline on our existing contract.

OU Health Physicians values our long-standing relationship with BCBS both as a network provider and customer, as our employees also receive BCBS health insurance coverage. What we are asking of BCBS is simple – that the best interest of Oklahomans is kept in mind and that BCBS agrees to compensate OU Health Physicians at rates comparable to the value our providers bring to the state and region. Those rates of payment need to be commensurate with the market. We are not asking for more than what is reasonably necessary to continue providing high-quality care to patients, nor more than what other major, national health plans are already paying.

If we are unable to reach an agreement with BCBS, your continued care by your OU Health Physicians provider will be considered out-of-network. This will likely mean increased out-of-pocket costs for you and/or your family to receive care from OU Health Physicians. This may also affect WHERE you receive care, as our hospital partners’ medical staff is primarily made up of OU Health Physicians providers. This includes OU Health University of Oklahoma Medical Center, Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health and OU Health Edmond Medical Center, as well as the state’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center; Oklahoma’s only Level I trauma center; and the highest-level pediatric care provided in our state.

It is important to know that for now, nothing changes for our patients with Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. You can still access us as you always have. Your in-network access will only change if we are unable to reach an agreement before March 1, 2021.

We understand that this situation can be stressful, and we share your concern. However, there are some things you can do to maintain your in-network access to OU Health Physicians providers:

  • Call our office. Contact us directly if you need a referral, prescription refill, or to reschedule your appointment or procedure to a date before March 1, 2021 to receive in-network care. You are welcome to call OU Health Physicians at (405) 271-5258 with any questions or concerns.
  • Call BCBSOK. Contact the Tulsa headquarters at (918) 551-3500 or BCBS toll free phone number (866) 520-2507 and urge them to reach a contract resolution with OU Health Physicians that protects your in-network access to your provider(s).
  • Ask for Continuity of Care benefits. For specific patient treatments and conditions, you maybe qualify for continuity of care benefits. As determined by BCBS, patients may be able to receive in-network coverage for treatment of specific conditions. We encourage you to call (918) 551-3500 or BCBS Tulsa toll free phone number (866) 520-2507 to see if you qualify.
  • Talk with your employer. Ask your employer to let BCBS know that it is important to maintain in-network access to OU Health Physicians.

We are committed to working with BCBS toward an agreement that benefits our patients. We are honored to serve you and will continue our focus on delivering the high-quality healthcare you have come to expect and deserve. We remain concerned about how an out-of-network status for OU Health Physicians impacts our already strained healthcare team in Oklahoma during a time when we know you need us the most. We will keep you notified as this situation continues to evolve.

Sincerely,

John Zubialde, MD
President, OU Health Physicians
Executive Dean, OU College of Medicine
Family Medicine Provider, OU Health Physicians Family Medicine

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