PeaceHealth and Regence Group of health care insurance companies reached a new two-year agreement, effective July 1.
PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is the parent of Peace Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor and eight other medical care centers in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Regence is a regional health insurance conglomerate based in Portland, Ore., selling health insurance plans in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah.
The contract provides the operating and payment framework so that Regence members can receive their care at PeaceHealth at in-network rates, among other provisions.
The new contract begins July 1, 2013, resulting in no interruption of coverage for Regence members. The agreement covers PeaceHealth Southwest, St. John, St. Joseph and Peace Island, as well as Peace Health Medical Group offices in those service areas.
Earlier this month, Regence notified its members that PeaceHealth health care would be out-of-network by July 1, 2013, if a new agreement was not reached.
As in the past, both organizations understood that members and patients rely on them to conclude the agreement so that members' full health insurance coverage would not be interrupted or payments reduced because of corporate disagreements about reimbursement levels or benefit allocations.
“We have agreed to work with Regence throughout this next contract term to explore new approaches to bend the trend of overall health care costs downward, while building on the excellent quality we provide,” said Kevin Walstrom, senior vice president/chief financial officer of PeaceHealth.
“In order to create a more economically sustainable health care system, it is critical we move toward paying doctors and hospitals for quality health outcomes versus the number of services they provide,” said Jared Short, president of Regence Insurance Holding Company. “Our new agreement with PeaceHealth begins to move us in that direction, and we look forward to working with them on finding new ways to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care for our members and their patients. At the end of the day, keeping health care costs affordable for our members remains our top priority.”
These insurer-provider agreements are a regular feature of the health care business and are not related to PeaceHealth discussions with UW Medicine or other medical systems for the provision of patient care.