Anne Arundel Medical Center issued notice to end contract with CareFirst

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.

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“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.

23 Comments

  • Mary Phipps says:

    Does this involve united healthcare MDIPI?
    I sure hope not. I love the care I receive at this hospital

    • Anne Arundel Medical Center says:

      Mary, thank you for your inquiry. This action does not involve United Healthcare. This involves a direct contract negotiation between the Anne Arundel Medical Center hospital system and CareFirst.

  • Erica says:

    This is an irresponsible decision that impacts thousands of people. Every provider my family sees is in the AAMC network. Is there any chance of a change should an agreement be reached prior to October?

    • Anne Arundel Medical Center says:

      Erica, thank you for sharing your concerns with us. Please know that we are committed to doing everything possible to resolve this issue. Please review our list of frequently asked questions at http://www.askAAMC.org/CareFirst. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

  • Helen says:

    Does this mean bcbs will not be accepted? What about any impact on Medicare?

    Thanks

    • Anne Arundel Medical Center says:

      Helen, thank you for your inquiry. This contract termination should not impact visits or procedures that take place before the termination effective dates – October 1, 2017 for the Anne Arundel Medical Group (AAMG), the Anne Arundel Diagnostic Imaging (AADI), and the Pathways Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center (Pathways), and January 1, 2018 for the Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC). After these dates, CareFirst members will only have out-of-network benefits for AAMC, AAMG, AADI and Pathways. If your health plan does not include out-of-network benefits, you will not be covered for services that we provide. The same contract termination effective dates apply for Medicare coverage provided through CareFirst. Please visit http://www.askAAMC.org/CareFirst for more information.

  • Frank Downs says:

    How long is the notice period?

    • Anne Arundel Medical Center says:

      Frank, the current contract termination dates are as follows:

      October 1, 2017 for our outpatient offices and services, including all Anne Arundel Medical Group (AAMG) practices, Anne Arundel Diagnostics Imaging (AADI) and the Pathways Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center.

      January 1, 2018 for the Anne Arundel Medical Center.

      Visit http://www.askAAMC.org/CareFirst for more information.

  • Kay JayGhee says:

    This would affect organizations who have Carefirst/Bluechoice (such as PGCPS Teachers and others) as their provider, correct ?

  • Jessica says:

    I understand the that CareFirst has some issues, and I don’t disagree, but what about all of the people who have CareFirst through their work and this is their only choice? They are the ones loosing out on quality care and services. Why make us suffer because it is the only insurance we. An afford. Disappointed….

    • thestory says:

      Jessica, thank you for voicing your feelings and concerns. We remain committed to doing all that we can to resolve this issue.

  • Dianne C says:

    Is there anything we subscribers can do to prevent this. It will be devastating to many of us.

    • Anne Arundel Medical Center says:

      Dianne, thank you for your inquiry. We will continue to work with CareFirst up through the current contract termination dates of October 1, 2017, and January 1, 2018. See http://www.askAAMC.org/CareFirst for a list of frequently asked questions. Reply back here or reach out to us on social media (Twitter or Facebook) with any additional questions you may have. If you have additional questions for CareFirst, please reference their contact information as provided on the back of your member ID card.

  • Jean Christie says:

    Thank you for taking such good care of us. I’m glad to see that you have put your patients’ welfare first.

    • thestory says:

      Jean, we will continue to negotiate a new agreement with CareFirst throughout this notice period. We are committed to doing everything we can to resolve this issue.

  • BC says:

    I’m scheduled for a C-Section at AAMC in late January. This can’t be happening.

  • Stephanie says:

    The question everyone should be asking is “What can we do (if anything ) as patients? ”
    Contact Carefirst?
    The community will come together on this one for sure.

  • AMS says:

    As one whose own doctors and family members’ doctors are almost exclusively part of AAMC’s physician groups, I am sad and angry that a compromise hasn’t been reached. However, I do understand both sides and appreciate the information. My question is if this will also affect Hopkins-affiliated specialists who see patients at AAMC? Please also consider that the number of patients you lose (if terms are not agreed upon) could exceed the monies lost by accepting lower payments from Carefirst. Thank you for listening.

  • Lindsay says:

    Please let us know if there is any way for patients to advocate a resolution with CareFirst.

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