Health

Hazel Hawkins, Anthem Blue Cross reach agreement

It takes effect Jan. 1.

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital announced that it reached an agreement with Anthem Blue Cross on a new contract that allows Anthem-insured patients to maintain in-network access to Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital services, facilities and providers. Hazel Hawkins said the new agreement takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

“This is a win for our patients and community who deserve access to local high-quality care. We appreciate the understanding and support we received from our patients, physicians, and local employers,” said Mary Casillas, Hazel Hawkins interim CEO. “It is important that we continue to meet the needs of our community, and this new contract will allow us to do just that.”

The news release did not provide information on the terms of the agreement.

Hazel Hawkins said it encourages patients who have put off any preventative screening to make their appointments to be seen.

The hospital has been “out-of-network” for Anthem PPO members since Aug. 10, 2022. During negotiations, Hazel Hawkins said Anthem was refusing to “appropriately pay Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital for health care services.

Anthem said it “offered reasonable increases that are in line with what other provider partners receive for the same services.”

Former Hazel Hawkins CEO Steve Hannah, who was terminated on Oct. 14, told BenitoLink that the hospital has been seeking an increase in reimbursement for 10 years. He said Anthem was a key factor in Hazel Hawkins’ financial viability.

On Nov. 4, Hazel Hawkins declared a fiscal emergency and said it needed to come up with an additional $25 million to avoid bankruptcy. It recently got an $1.1 million advancement from the county on property tax revenue due to the hospital.

Hazel Hawkins said members, patients, physicians, and others with questions can call (831) 205-5710 or the number on their Anthem member card for more information

BenitoLink Staff