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Community Hospital Group Contract Expires With Major Health Plan Insurer
Date:4/1/2010

Stellaris Health Network Says Empire Blue Cross Puts Stockholders Ahead of Community Healthcare. As Other Health Insurers Renew Contracts, Empire Refuses to Pay Competitive Rates.

Armonk, NY (PRWEB) -- Stellaris Health Network said today that its contract with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield expired at midnight March 31st ending a long-standing relationship with the prominent health insurance provider that is owned by WellPoint Inc., one of the nation's largest health insurance conglomerates. The expiration follows several months of unsuccessful efforts to reach a new agreement giving the hospitals reimbursement rates that are consistent with those being paid by other health insurers in the market.

Thousands of Empire subscribers who use the four Stellaris hospitals are affected. The Stellaris members are: Lawrence Hospital Center (Bronxville), Northern Westchester Hospital (Mount Kisco), Phelps Memorial Hospital Center (Sleepy Hollow), and White Plains Hospital Center (White Plains).

"Our non-profit community hospitals can no longer subsidize the record profits of a health insurance conglomerate, and that is what Empire expects us to do," said Arthur A. Nizza, President and CEO of Stellaris Health Network. "Our hospitals are committed to providing quality medical services to the communities we serve. However, that commitment cannot be met if we are forced to accept reimbursement rates that are far below the cost of providing the services."

Nizza continued: "As the recent enactment of federal healthcare legislation made clear, the era of health insurance companies running roughshod over hospitals and patients in their unbridled quest to reap huge profits for their investors is over. Apparently, Empire and its parent company, Wellpoint, have not yet gotten the message. For the health of our nation and our communities, the time has come for the insura
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