Columbia, SC (WACH) - A Midlands woman is speaking out about the recent BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina??s decision of dropping MEDcare Urgent Care under its urgent care provider networks.
Bonnie Barte was born with a rare blood disorder, and it requires her to administer an IV.
After recently breaking her finger, she found herself debating whether she should take a trip to her specialist in Sumter or to an emergency room where her wait time could last for hours.
"I figured I??ll check with an urgent care to see if they'd put an IV in, expecting they'll say no and MEDcare said sure no problem," said Barte.
Barte says MEDcare treated her in a timely matter, having her out the door in less than an hour.
However, the MEDcare patient would be hit with some shocking news. Her insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, has decided to no longer have MEDcare in its network.
"I was worried," said Barte. "There was no rationale given that it was a quality of care issue or a cost issue, and I feel that if I??m paying for my insurance through my employer, I should be able to see any reputable provider for urgent care, versus going to the ER which is very expensive."
In a statement from BlueCross BlueShield obtained on July 10, 2014, spokesperson Patti Embry-Tautenhan said this, "During the past few years there has been a rapid increase in growth in the urgent care market. Our decision to reduce the number of urgent care centers in our network reflects the larger national trend of smaller provider networks across all medical specialties. While this action affects a very small percentage of our overall membership, all customers continue to have significant choice in urgent care providers, as well as the option to go to out-of-network providers if they choose to pay higher out-of-network costs."
Dr.Hallba, CEO of MEDcare, says despite the company??s decision, he will continue fighting for his patients health rights.
Hallaba tells WACH Fox he has kept in contact with top executives at BlueCross. He says that he still wants to believe the decision was made at one level, and not communicated across the company.
"Our argument with them is if BlueCross BlueShield is about quality, is about driving down cost, is about improving patient outcomes and results and increasing convenience and access, then we're the urgent care they should be partnering with," said Dr. Hallaba.
As for patients like Barte, she encourages everyone to speak out and ask the company for a better explanation.
"It starts with one person being deselected and it makes me wonder if it??s going to go to other providers," added Barte.
As of now, the current effective date for MEDcare to become unavailable in BlueCross BlueShield of SC??s urgent provider network is October 8, 2014.