Community Letter

March 22, 2024

Our No. 1 Concern: Maintaining your access to essential care

Friday, March 22, 2024

By Merrin Permut
Vice President & Chief Population Health Officer

Merrin Permut

Access to quality healthcare close to home is essential for all of us, and it can be critical for patients with specific health needs who must continue seeing the doctors, nurses and medical assistants who know and understand their needs.

Uncertainty as talks continue

At Legacy Health, we understand that our negotiations with Regence BlueCross BlueShield to reach a new contract before the March 31 deadline is creating uncertainty and stress about your healthcare needs.

We continue to do all we can to reach a positive outcome so that no Regence member experiences a gap in care.

 However, if Regence does not agree to a fair, equitable increase in our reimbursement by March 31, Legacy doctors, hospitals and clinics will no longer be in-network for many Regence members. Being out-of-network means that you may have to pay more money out of pocket for services at Legacy until we agree to a new contract.

 As a reminder, if you receive care at a Legacy hospital or clinic in the Silverton area or have an individual or small group plan, you can continue to see your Legacy providers and access services as usual.  Please review our Patient FAQ to find out what this means for you.

What this could mean for you

If our contract with Regence ends on March 31, we’re concerned about how you might be impacted.

  • Disrupting your relationship with your doctor: If you’re forced to find a new doctor, we’re concerned that you will lose years of experience with your Legacy doctor, nurses and medical staff.
  • Delays in your care: The unfortunate reality is that patients don’t have enough access to trusted doctors and nurses in their communities. That’s true in many parts of the country and it’s especially true in our communities. We have seen some of the longest wait times in the country for patients who want to see a new primary care doctor. We’ve already heard from trusted doctors and clinics across our community that they do not have the capacity to take on additional Regence patients.
  • Traveling farther to receive care: As a community hospital system, Legacy offers quality and specialized care close to home through our six hospital campuses and more than 80 clinics offering primary care, specialty care and Legacy-GoHealth urgent care. For some medical needs, such as in-patient rehab care, certain pediatric specialties and the Oregon Burn Center, Legacy is the only provider of those services in the region. This all means that Regence members likely will have to travel farther for their health care if our contract ends. For some specialty services, Regence has told us that members may be asked to travel to Seattle.

“The families that we care for will be left stranded to find care for their children,” said Dr. Karin Selva, Senior Medical Director, Pediatric Subspecialties and Medical Director, Randall Children’s Hospital Gender Care Center. “I worry that children will have serious gaps in care, which will exacerbate their chronic condition. They won’t know where to go when they have a serious issue or need their prescriptions refilled. As a result, they will be flooding our EDs – and those of the other hospitals in our community – because they have nowhere to go.”

Certain patients, such as those receiving cancer treatment or in the later stages of pregnancy, are likely to get exceptions from Regence that allows them to continue receiving care from their trusted Legacy doctors with in-network insurance coverage. However, it’s important to know that this is a short-term solution. That exception, known in state law as Continuity of Care, only applies to certain patients approved by Regence and will only extend until June 29, according to Regence.

If you are in active treatment for a serious condition, you may be eligible for an in-network exception. Learn more by visiting Regence’s website.

At Legacy, good health for all is our mission and we’re deeply concerned about how preventive services, chronic disease management and life-saving patient care could be delayed or missed if our contract with Regence ends.

We need a fair, equitable contract with Regence to ensure access

To ensure that you and your family have access to the care you need with your trusted health partner, we urge Regence to agree to a fair and reasonable increase in our reimbursement that matches the actual cost of care.

We need your help to do this. Visit our resource page to learn more and join us in this effort.

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