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Blue Cross, Texas Health Resources reach agreement on contract

Texas Health Resources this year reopened the former Forest Park Medical Center-Fort Worth and renamed it Texas Health Clearfork. The hospital specializes in orthopedic procedures such as joint replacement and rehabilitation.
Texas Health Resources this year reopened the former Forest Park Medical Center-Fort Worth and renamed it Texas Health Clearfork. The hospital specializes in orthopedic procedures such as joint replacement and rehabilitation. Star-Telegram archives

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, the state’s largest provider of healthcare benefits, has reached a contract agreement with Texas Health Resources allowing it to remain in its network.

If Blue Cross Blue Shield and Arlington-based Texas Health Resources had not been able to reach a deal, its doctors and clinicians would not have been able to provide care for patients covered by one of the insurance carrier’s plans. The contract was set to expire Saturday.

“Through determined efforts on both sides of the table, the agreement will keep Texas Health Resources in the HMO Blue Texas (Blue Essentials), Blue Choice PPO (BCA), Blue Advantage HMO (BAV) and Blue Cross Advantage PPO networks with no disruption in service,” a joint statement released by the two parties said.

Details about the compromise were not provided in a statement released late Thursday, and representatives of both companies declined to talk about it Friday. But it was known that Blue Cross Blue Shield and Texas Health Resources were arguing over the percentage of increase in what Texas Health Resources could charge for its services.

Texas Health Resources had reportedly sought a 4 to 5 percent increase, which Blue Cross Blue Shield hesitated to accept, saying in a statement that it would result in $57 million in additional costs to its members. Texas Health Resources said earlier that it was offered a 2 percent increase by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Texas Health Resources said it provides more than $1 billion in services to Blue Cross Blue Shield’s members each year.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is the largest deliverer of healthcare benefits in Texas, working with nearly 80,000 physicians and healthcare practitioners and 500 hospitals to serve more than 5 million members in all 254 counties in the state.

Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the country. It owns 29 hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with the company, including Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist in Fort Worth and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas.

Earlier this year, Texas Health Resources added the chain of freestanding First Choice Emergency Rooms to its healthcare network in North Texas.

It also formed Southwestern Health Resources, a network of facilities and physicians, with UT Southwestern. More than 500 employed Texas Health physicians are part of the network, which also includes UT Southwestern faculty and affiliated physicians. Altogether, the network has more than 2,000 physicians and 31 hospital locations.

This story contains material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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