About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Norfolk hospital’s negotiations with Anthem may offer preview for MWHC

CHKD and Anthem eventually reached a deal in May.

If the recent experience of a Norfolk hospital offers any guidance, the dispute between Mary Washington Healthcare and Anthem will be resolved without Mary Washington dropping from the Anthem network.

The negotiations between the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughter and Anthem were contentious and drawn-out, but they ended with a settlement in May, just before the deadline.

A three-year provider agreement between CHKD and Anthem expired at the end of 2010. The two sides extended the deal to June 1, and then to June 15, while they talked.

The issues were similar to those between Mary Washington and Anthem. CHKD complained that Anthem’s rates were among the lowest in the industry; Anthem called CHKD’s rate request exorbitant.

CHKD tried one tactic that Mary Washington hasn’t used: they invited Anthem-insured patients to file a complaint about the insurance company with the Virginia Department of Health. To make it easy, the hospital provided a complaint form on its website.

Finally on a Friday afternoon in May, the two sides jointly announced a new 3½-year deal. Does that mean that settlement in Mary Washington’s case will be announced tomorrow? Or perhaps Dec. 30?