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North Carolina Healthcare Providers Express Concern Over Proposed State Health Plan Network

New Strategy Threatens Access to Care for all North Carolinians

October 24, 2018 – Raleigh, NC – Leaders from North Carolina’s hospitals and health systems and the NC Medical Society are expressing concerns over a new network for the State Health Plan that will limit access to care for state employees and retirees and, ultimately to all North Carolinians. Speaking to reporters before this week’s meeting of the State Health Plan Board, North Carolina Healthcare Association President Steve Lawler said State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who oversees the State Health Plan, has rejected requests by providers to consider other proven strategies for managing healthcare costs and improving health.

“North Carolina’s most thoughtful healthcare leaders have attempted, on numerous occasions, to work with the treasurer and his team, yet Mr. Folwell has refused to engage in a productive conversation,” said Mr. Lawler.  “Our provider community remains resolute and committed to working with the Treasurer or our General Assembly to develop a plan that serves the best interests of all North Carolinians.”

Lawler also said the Treasurer’s claims that the plan, based on Medicare rates, will offer profits to providers is a false assumption because government payers already reimburse well below the cost to provide care. If the plan is enacted, many hospitals will have to make the difficult decision to discontinue some services, forcing state health plan members and others to go outside their local communities for care or risk paying more to be out of network.

Dr. Roxie Wells, president of Cape Fear Valley Health System’s Hoke and Bladen Hospitals, says rural communities like hers already struggle with financial shortfalls since the majority of their patients are served by Medicaid and Medicare or are uninsured.

“I have a keen understanding of the need to balance the budget because I live in this space every single day,” said Dr. Wells. “However, as a physician who has spent most of my career in rural and underserved communities, often served by critical access and safety net hospitals, I cannot accept the mindset of balancing the budget at the expense of the healthcare of the people in our communities.”

Hospitals and health systems and the physician community support positive change to preserve access to care and improve the health of state employees in a manner that supports the best interests of all North Carolinians.

 

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