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Welcoming Parkridge as our Network S partner: what this means for members and customers

After careful consideration, BlueCross has selected Parkridge Health System as the provider partner alongside Erlanger for Blue Network S in Chattanooga. 

We’re excited about bringing Parkridge facilities into Network S and are confident they’ll deliver the high-quality care our members deserve at prices they can afford.​

At the same time, we value the doctor-patient relationship, so we’re doing everything we can to make this transition easier. We announced a decision to keep paying for our members’ care from CHI Memorial’s doctors at current rates. This would mean that members can continue to see their current doctor without any added cost from BlueCross.

Unfortunately, CHI Memorial has made it clear their doctors may stop taking appointments from our members, and they intend to balance bill our members who do see their physicians after June 30. So, despite our commitment to go above and beyond for those we serve, CHI Memorial intends to impose greater out-of-pocket costs or even disrupt care.

This is yet another disappointing move by CHI Memorial and supports our decision to move on with Parkridge Health System as our Network S hospital alongside Erlanger.

How Parkridge earned a spot in Network S

Our provider network team spent weeks analyzing bids from CHI Memorial and Parkridge, considering quality, patient experience, and affordability, among other key metrics. 

After our first review of the Network S proposals, we provided feedback to both health systems and asked them to submit a “best and final” offer for our consideration. While CHI Memorial did submit another proposal, it wasn’t substantially better than their original bid.

Additionally, CHI Memorial told us that if we didn’t pick them for Network S, they would leave all our networks. This is an unacceptable response to our competitive bid process.

Neither offer would allow us to lower premiums for our Network S plans, but CHI Memorial’s proposal would’ve cost our members $40 million more than Parkridge’s offer over three years.

Parkridge Health System provides almost every service CHI Memorial offers — including cardiology and oncology — along with some that Memorial doesn’t offer such as adult & pediatric psychiatric care, obstetrics, and freestanding emergency care. Parkridge facilities also cover more of the greater Chattanooga area, providing more convenient options for in-network care.​

CHI Memorial doctors and our members

We still have an offer on the table to keep CHI Memorial’s doctors in Network S. This offer includes a fair rate increase for their doctors.

At the same time, we have other offers with CHI Memorial to keep their doctors and facilities in our other networks (Network P, Medicare Advantage and BlueCare). We hope they’ll meet our members’ and customers’ needs for fair rates by June 30, 2024, which is the date they set for our current contract to expire.

While we’re excited to welcome Parkridge into Network S, we understand that this news may disappoint some people. We didn’t make this decision lightly, and we are certain we can support all our members through this transition.  

It’s important to remember that this situation all started because of CommonSpirit’s actions: 

  • They insisted on putting an expiration date on our contract, and even tried to end it earlier. 
  • They started our discussions with a nearly $70 million rate increase. 
  • They wanted to leave our value-based care programs that support delivery of high-quality health services. 

We’re here to help you get the care you need 

If you have ongoing services scheduled at a CHI Memorial facility, the care team from BlueCross will work with you to help make sure you continue to receive appropriate care from an in-network health care provider. And members in specific circumstances, like those getting cancer treatment or in the second trimester of pregnancy, can be granted in-network status to keep that care at a CHI Memorial facility for a period of time. 

Our customer service and care teams are here to help make sure members don’t experience disruptions in care. Members with questions can reach out at the number on their member ID for support.  

We owe it to everyone we serve to do what we can to slow the rising costs of care and coverage – and we are excited to move forward with a provider who is actively engaged in supporting that goal.  


About Scott Pierce, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

A photo of the authorScott is responsible for day-to-day management and operation of the state’s largest health insurer. He takes an active role in developing the long-range goals, plans and objectives of the organization, and leads operations teams including customer service, claims, clinical staff, provider networks, marketing, and information systems.

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