South Plains Communities Facing Health Care Problems - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/21/07

South Plains Communities Facing Health Care Problems

Even more people are facing health care challenges on the South Plains.  At midnight, Friday, Blue Cross Blue Shield will cut coverage at rural health clinics in both Levelland and Plainview.

This stems from the same situation NewsChannel 11 told you about earlier this week when Blue Cross and Covenant Medical Group could not come to an agreement on reimbursement payments.

Almost all the doctors in Levelland are part of the Covenant Medical Group.  It's a similar case in Snyder, and several doctors in Plainview are also affected.  That's leaving rural communities with a tough choice, pay more or drive further.

"We believe it's an unfair hardship that Blue Cross is putting on our patients in those communities," Dr. Scott Robins from Covenant Medical Group said. 

The options in Levelland will be extremely limited.

"They want it fixed," George Keeling from Keeling Insurance in Levelland said. 

That's because virtually all of the doctors in Levelland are part of the Covenant Medical Group, which is a difficult situation for Levelland ISD because the district's provider is BCBS.

"Covenant has done a really good job of getting physicians recruited for the Levelland hospital, and if their patient load drops, we may see some of them leave, not something you want to see in a small community," Keeling said. 

Snyder is also facing hardships.

"In Snyder, there are some options, but we have the majority of doctors in Snyder as well," Robins said. 

Relief could come soon, according to Evan Moore, Chief Executive Officer for Cogdell Hospital in Snyder. 

"We are negotiating the acquisition of the Covenant Clinic with their 6 doctors here in Snyder. If successful, those doctors will again be a part of the in network physicians for Blue Cross," Moore said in a statement to NewsChannel 11.

That isn't an option in Levelland, so we wanted to know if folks in town are placing blame?

"I think it's not one side or the other. I think they're blaming both sides, because basically both sides are part of the problem now," Keeling said. 

"I think it's just all the more reason that patients need to insist that Blue Cross start some negotiations with us so that we can get it resolved," Robins said. 

Robins tells us that while Plainview is in the same boat, they have more options outside of CMG , though it's still creating problems there as well.

Covenant Medical Group Physicians
Here is a list of Covenant Medical Group doctors who are impacted by the Blue Cross contract as shown on their website. (You will need Adobe Acrobat to open this file)

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