Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) has issued notice to end its contract with CareFirst. If contract negotiations are not resolved during the notice period, the result of the termination is that AAMC will become an out-of-network provider for all CareFirst health plans. This change will also affect Pathways, all Anne Arundel Medical Group (AAMG) practices, as well as all locations for Anne Arundel Diagnostics Imaging, Inc. (AADI). The termination will take effect on October 1, 2017 for AAMG, AADI and Pathways and January 1, 2018 for AAMC.
“We always strive to put the care of our community first and to offer the highest quality care at the lowest cost – for the benefit of both our patients and insurers,” said Mitch Schwartz, chief medical officer, AAMC. “Unfortunately, after a successful re-negotiation with CareFirst last year, they have seen fit to unilaterally reduce our rates, rather than honor our three-year agreement.”
After successfully re-negotiating AAMC’s contract last year, CareFirst rolled out a significant reduction in payments that our health system receives to provide care for patients. For months, AAMC has worked in good faith with CareFirst to find a solution to this situation. CareFirst has not changed its position. Ironically, AAMC has shown that patients enrolled in programs throughout the health system experience better health outcomes at a lower cost – savings that are passed on to CareFirst.
“The reductions to our reimbursement rates enacted by CareFirst are unsustainable,” said Bob Reilly, chief financial officer, AAMC. “Unfortunately, the only option we had was to terminate the contract and appeal to CareFirst for reasonable reimbursement rates.”
Without a contract in place between CareFirst and AAMC, CareFirst members will not have in-network benefit coverage for services provided at AAMC, AAMG, AADI and Pathways. AAMC is communicating directly with patients impacted by this change to inform them and provide guidance on next steps.
For additional information, current CareFirst members can contact CareFirst at the customer service phone number found on the back of their member ID cards. AAMC has also set up a helpline, 443-481-5555, to answer general questions from patients Monday through Friday from 7 am to 7 pm. Additional resources for patients are available at www.askAAMC.org/CareFirst.