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Alvarado Hospital Files Countersuit Against Blue Shield
Date:8/30/2007

ation.

"There are fewer, but larger, health plans in California today than existed 10 years ago, and these health plans are increasingly using their market share to ratchet down payments to hospitals and doctors. Blue Shield's aggressive tactics are threatening the existence of independent hospitals such as Alvarado."

The countersuit also claims that Blue Shield's attempt to force Alvarado to accept below-cost reimbursement threatens the hospital's continued existence. "Alvarado Hospital is a start-up organization, a single, stand-alone, physician family-owned facility," said LaBella, "which means that every patient is crucial to the hospital's success, and to the hospital's chances of continuing to serve the East County."

"In San Diego, there is no public hospital for indigent care, so the private providers are our safety net," said Steve Escoboza, president and CEO for the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties. "Alvarado Hospital is very important to our region, and vital to the community it serves."

With the recent closures of two other East County hospitals (Scripps El Cajon Hospital and University Community Medical Center) as well as the discontinuation of managed care contracts at another (Paradise Valley), Alvarado Hospital has become an even more essential component of the regional healthcare network.

"Big insurance companies say they care about their patients," said Jill Furillo of the California Nurses Association, which represents nurses at Alvarado, "but when they sue hospitals to avoid paying fair market rates they're really revealing their true colors -- maximizing their profits and minimizing their patients' well-being."

Alvarado Hospital is a 306-bed acute care hospital that also operates the San Diego Rehabilitation Institute, which serves patients with either acute or transitional rehabilitation needs. Alvarado has more than 500 on-staff physicians, 1,000 employees and 400 volunteers who provide
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SOURCE Alvarado Hospital
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