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Leaders Voicing Concerns About Anthem And Adventist Health Dispute

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors are weighing in about the ongoing contract dispute between Anthem Blue Cross and Adventist Health.

We reported earlier that Anthem and Adventist Health are negotiating over reimbursement rates. Anthem Blue Cross was planning to no longer include Adventist Health Sonora, as an in-network hospital, effective July 18. That move would have county employees, and many other local residents, paying higher out-of-pocket expenses, or seeking healthcare elsewhere. The contract termination date has now been pushed to August 1st, as the two sides continue negotiations.

Board Chair Anaiah Kirk stated, “People are stressed out, and I feel like our constituents, or our people, are being used as negotiation chips.”

The board discussed sending a letter to both Anthem and Adventist Health advocating for “immediate successful contract negotiations to minimize impacts to county employees and local residents.”

The letter would also ask both parties to collectively work together.

CAO Tracie Riggs noted that Superintendent of Schools Cathy Parker also reached out to the county about potentially doing a joint letter involving the various school districts as well. The board of supervisors agreed it would be beneficial to collaborate on the document, indicating there is “power in numbers.” The county may also reach out to other large employers, citing the US Forest Service, specifically.

The Supervisors collectively voted in favor of moving forward with a collaborative letter to the healthcare entities, and voicing concerns. It will also be sent to Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and other elected representatives.

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