WINCHESTER — After several months of often tense negotiations, Valley Health System and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Virginia have agreed to a new contract.
The announcement was made this afternoon in a media release from Valley Health, the Winchester-based health care provider that operates six hospitals in the region, including Winchester Medical Center. The new agreement gives Anthem insurance customers uninterrupted, in-network access to Valley Health caregivers and services through 2023.
Valley Health issued the joint release at 1 p.m., then asked media outlets to remove the article because the deal had not been finalized. By 3:20 p.m., Valley Health and Anthem had resolved the issue and said the deal was good to go.
“We recognize negotiations have been stressful for our patients and are pleased to bring this matter to a close,” Valley Health President and CEO Mark Nantz said in today's release. “We appreciate Anthem’s trust in Valley Health as their partner and their willingness to make the investment in high-quality health care for their members.”
“We value this continued partnership with Valley as we work together to tackle the current pandemic and improve lives and communities here in Virginia,” Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield President Jeff Ricketts said in the release. “Prioritizing the health of our communities is more important than ever, which is why we are pleased to have reached this agreement [that] protects affordability for consumers and ensures our members have access to quality care at Valley Health.”
In September, Valley Health announced that negotiations to renew its contract with Anthem, Virginia's largest insurer, were at an impasse. If a deal could not be reached by Dec. 31, people with Anthem or related Blue Cross Blue Shield policies would have been charged higher, out-of-network rates at all Valley Health facilities starting Jan. 1. An estimated 40,000 people in Valley Health's service area would be impacted.
Details of the finalized contract were not disclosed in today's release.
Valley Health invites customers to call 1-866-414-4576 if they have additional questions about the new agreement. Anthem users can call Member Services using the phone number on the back of their member I.D. card.
For more information about this breaking story, read Wednesday's edition of The Winchester Star.