Viewer Response to Consider This on Covenant Medical Group/BCBS Dispute - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Viewer Response to Consider This on Covenant Medical Group/BCBS Dispute

Viewer 1
Dan,
I think your the only one in town who has really voiced what every one is thinking but is to afraid to say. My family doctor decided to close his private practice rather than require his patients to pay more, he is now an ER Doctor. While I have to admire him for that I also have to wonder about the conflict of interest the First Care might pose. Wasn't First Care started by Covenant Health system? Could it be that doctors are getting a high percentage from First Care and this has made them realize maybe they should get more?
I just find it hard to believe that they couldn't come to some sort of compromise. It really shows how little the covenant system cares for its patients of they are not willing to come up with SOMETHING, especially in a day in age where we are in the midst of a health care crisis. I think I heard that close to half of our society is living without health insurance.  Its ridiculous to ask those with health insurance to act as if they don't have it and pay out of network prices. Whats the point of insurance then Maybe after all of the Covenant docs lose close to all of their patients then maybe they will realize that its more profitable to take less of a percentage than to lose all of their patients.
I guess UMC and private practice doctors are going to make a killing off of this. Well I say good for them!

Viewer 2
I agree that there is plenty of blame to go around.

As in a school ground fight, despite any taunting that might have gone on, the one seen throwing the first punch usually gets the blame. I think this is the case with the degree of negative attitudes toward Covenant; there may have been a problem before, but the general public didn't know it until the Covenant group threw that "first public punch".

My family is a strange position in all of this. We have been on the FirstCare HMO for years and basically happy with it, but two circumstances made us change to BCBS September 1: (1) in our group and our customer classification--Member and Spouse--BCBS is more than $300 per month less expensive; and (2) under FirstCare, I was unable to see specialists at major medical centers away from Lubbock that my local specialist believe can help me with a chronic health problem. Let's face it, to a degree, FirstCare is a local HMO. Some of our physicians are with the Covenant group and some are not. We haven't made a move yet and do not want to, but it may come to that.

Some see the move by the Covenant physician group as a move to encourage people to move their coverage from BCBS to FirstCare, which--if I'm not mistaken--is essentially owned by the Covenant System. Perhaps no conflict of interest exists, but there is at least an appearance of it. 

Viewer 3
I agree with your opinion. I think both sides need to quit playing the blame game and come to a resolution. Healthcare is far too important for people for such a thing to happen. I can't believe the doctors are willing to lose patients that have come to rely so heavily on them. I also can't believe BCBS is willing to let the people who pay, I am sure, high premiums to keep THEM in business, deal with the stress of finding new doctors when an agreement could be made.

I, for one, blame both sides. Greed is a BAD thing when it comes to people's welfare and lives.

Viewer 4
I discussed this with my doctor well in advance of the deadline and made a decision to switch insurance carriers.  I recently had surgery and I saw the insane discounts that BCBS forced upon my doctors.  I worked as a legal assistant for years and have seen many medical bills other than my own.  I thought the fees my doctors charged were reasonable, yet BCBS paid less than half of the amount billed.  I was actually embarrassed. 

What if someone wanted to buy advertising on KCBD?  You told them your rate and they said - "we will pay less than half of that rate, take a long time to do it, and you will take that amount and get nothing else".  You'd probably send them out the door.  Do the doctors not have the same right to send BCBS out the door?  I would suggest you take a little time research the recent BCBS settlement in Antiracketeering Lawsuit.  They got their hand slapped and now they don't want to talk to the doctors to try to work out a meaningful and just agreement. BCBS has no concern for the patients - their concern is for their bottom line.

Viewer 5
I cannot believe this whole dispute is happening.  I have coverage through BCBS for my 5 year old that had always gone to a Covenant pediatrician.    We also have always used Covenant hospital and emergency room.  We have been blessed that our son is very healthy and we do not go to the doctor or use the insurance very often but when we have had to go to a doctor our choice had always been with Covenant.  Now, I had to find another doctor and walk in clinic that can still bill BCBS.  However, I'm not so sure that I don't have to find another insurance company also.  And, although we can still use the Covenant hospital and ER I'm not sure we want to use them anymore because they are only focused on one thing MONEY and how much they should get.  We the patients are not their first choice so why should they be our first choice?   I have insurance through my employer not BCBS and have the option to use Covenant or the UMC system however after going though all this I really do not and may not want to have anything to do with the Covenant system because of what they stand for and it is not for the patients their customers.  I just wish they could have worked this all out and that we the customers wouldn't have been affected by all this mess.

Viewer 6
I really believe Covenant doctors are greedy and probably charge more for office visits, etc. than other physicians in the community. You don't hear any other physician group in town raising a stink. I find it unfortunate for the patients of the community and hope that the doctors not involved in the dispute are able to accommodate the influx of new patients.

Viewer 7
I work in Health care and I would like to say this.  For all of you that think the Dr.'s are be bad guys here, You need to get the facts before casting that stone. 

You need to see what the price of a office cost, you need to see what the price tag is on office staff, how about the x-rays, supplies, meds, paperwork for the pts., storage for all this stuff, practice insurance, ( you could buy a small home for what it cost some drs), other testing equipment that the pts need, increases in all this stuff and up keep on it, (It don't take care of its self)  all these things cost $$$$$$

Now lets look at the other side.  Insurance companies look at one thing and one thing only, the all mighty $$$$$.  They don't give a flip about anything else including the pt.  They want to get more and pay out less.  Medicare and Medicaid are the lowest paying medical  insurance out there.  The Drs do not make money on these pts.  Workers comp changed to these guidelines and now Blue Cross Blue Shield wants the same rates.  Also Blue Cross pays differently from area to area even if the cost for treating a pt is the same in those different areas.  Check it out for yourself.

Everyone wants the best medical care that their money can buy, the insurance don't want to spend it.  Oh and one more thing.  Look into how much Medicare pays the hospital vs how much they pay the Drs who take care of the pts.

Lubbock open your eyes and see what the insurance companies are covering up.

Viewer 8
What gets me is how can the Dr's of Covanant Medical group even consider that they deserve more than all the other Dr's in Lubbock or in Texas, I feel that with Covanants involment with First Care it is yet another push to force all of Lubbock into having First Care rather than being Americans and having a choice.  There are many companies out there and I am an insurance agent, however I too have First Care because they have most of the local business in Lubbock wrapped up with the Chamber deal.  My son however has BCBS because his dad is a State Employee in another town. 

I want to find a Dr-just one in Lubbock that cares more about the patient than the amount being paid by the insurance company.  This fight will cause yet another increase for state employees and in turn for tax payers because Lubbock Covanant Dr's think they are better and deserve more than any other area Drs.

Get real it is so wrong to bargin for more at the expense of other-Texas has more uninsured people than any other state.  I think they should be people friendly and cut the crap.

Viewer 9
Dan, You couldn't have said it any better! I am self employed and pay for a private plan with BCBS. And also have a Covenant Med Group Dr. and have been torn in between. I've receiced letters from my covenat physicians keeping me posted on this situation, that shows they DO CARE ABOUT THEIR PATIENTS. and BCBS, only my monthly statement.

I must say that BCBS has an outrageous deductible for me to meet every year. I personally think that BCBS could at least come to a reasonable rate for these physicians.

I know that I have far been better treated by my doctor better than BCBS, to them I'm just another Group Number. oh yeah, my insurance premium went up at the begining of  of the year. For a family of 4 it was 343.00 now it is 401.00! will someone put up the white flag already?

Viewer 10
I think you ought to let your viewers know that Covenant owns First Care Ins. Co. Wonder if that is why they would like their pt's to change their coverage? And why should BCBS pay more for Covenant than they do Health Sciences Center doctors...do they think they are ...BETTER?  We are very lucky to live in Lubbock and have access to some very well known doctors and it aggravates me to no end to hear Covenant docs over there whining about needing more money. Shut up and take care of the pt. Maybe they need to budget their money more responsibly.

Viewer 11
Amen!  The information I've received from my Human Resources group is we indeed can keep our same doc; however, we have to pay more and meet another "out of network" deductible which is extremely high.  That is why no one can afford to do this, no matter how many letters, e-mails, etc. CMG continues to send out to folks.

It is amazing to me that CMG believes that we (the individual) has control over what insurance plan our employers choose for us.  Wrong!  My corporate headquarters are in California with thousands of employees and believe me - Lubbock CMG will not be making the decision for them to choose First Care over BCBS!  This is truly naïve.

Viewer 12
THERE IS ENOUGH BLAME TO GO AROUND. I AGREE THAT DOCTORS HAVE A HUGE EXPENSE WITH MAL PRACTICE AND ALL, BUT THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO PREVENT FROM LIVING HIGH ON THE HOG. I HAVE DONE REPAIR WORK IN A LOT OF DOCTORS HOMES. BELEIVE ME THEY LIVE WAY UP THERE. ONE DOCTOR LIVES OUT IN RANSOM CANYON, HE HAS A HOUSE THAT LOOKS LIKE A HOTEL. I DISPUTE THE BELIEF THAT A LISCENSE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE GUARANTEES THEM THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN MILLION DOLLAR MANSIONS AND THEN THE HOSPITAL CHARGE 15.00 FOR A BAND AID. DON'T TELL ME THEY COST THAT MUCH.

Viewer 13
Have you seen the size of some of the Doctors houses??  I know they have huge debt from school but they still can afford these houses, cars, vacation homes, etc.  I do not begrudge anyone of anything they can afford.  But it does seem they are doing pretty well on poor pay from BCBS.

Consider This... Covenant Medical Group/BCBS Dispute
NewsChannel 11 General Manager Dan Jackson has a message for both sides of the recent healthcare dispute in Lubbock.

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