Provider Perspective

March 26, 2024

Interview with Dr. Tad Lowder 

Director of Legacy Medical Group Clinics

Tad LowderAs a provider and health care advocate in this community, what are your concerns about the ongoing negotiations between Legacy Health and Regence? 

I worry for my patients. I worry that they are going to be forced to find health care at other locations because they will not be able to access care through Legacy. I have been in the community for almost 20 years and have built long-term, meaningful relationships with my patients. I hear many of my patient’s concerns about being forced to “start over” with a new provider who does not have the perspective of history with them. I hear the stress and fear in their statements as they talk about this possible situation. Unfortunately, in this area there is a shortage of providers, both primary care providers and specialists. I worry that my patients are not going to be able to find alternative care in a reasonable time frame, which will have a negative impact on their conditions and overall health.

What concerns do you have for our patients who are caught in the middle of this situation? 

My heart breaks for our patients and what they are going through because of this situation. A person’s health and the ability to see the healthcare provider that you want to see is something that many people rate as one of their top priorities. If the choice to see a Legacy Health provider is taken away from the Regence members, I worry that they will not be able to receive the appropriate care they need. There is a significant shortage of providers in the Portland and Vancouver metro area and these displaced patients will have difficulty getting established to receive ongoing care with someone else.

If an agreement is not reached, how will this affect Legacy patients who are Regence members? How will it impact you as a provider? 

Unfortunately, patients that have Regence will be out of network with Legacy Health. That will put them in the difficult position of needing to choose between staying with a provider that they have a relationship with, and paying higher out of network costs, or leaving to hopefully find a new provider with another organization. It would be regrettable if a patient needed to choose between paying for health care or other basic needs.

As a provider, my goal is to help patients live the healthiest life possible. Watching patients struggle with these issues has been heartbreaking. I want my patients to be able to access care where they want and continue to receive the high-quality care that is provided through Legacy. 

What are you telling patients who have questions about this situation? 

I am as open and honest as I can be about the situation as I understand it. Legacy Health has not been immune to the rising costs of providing health care, just like other organizations across this country. We cannot continue to be sustainable as an organization without insurance companies, like Regence, paying appropriate amounts for the excellent care we provide. Without appropriate reimbursement, we could not maintain our current clinics and hospitals, which could end up restricting care for all our patients.  

How are you helping patients plan for a possible contract termination? 

If an agreement is not reached, then patients will be stuck in a difficult situation. Most people cannot change insurance in the middle of the year and therefore many of our patients will be out of network. If there is an opportunity to change insurances, and patients are willing to do it, then that is one option they have. Otherwise, we are trying to trouble shoot with our patients so that they can continue to receive appropriate treatment. Unfortunately, there really are not many options outside of seeking care at other organizations which really don’t have the capacity to absorb this many people. 

How are contract disputes like this impacting health care throughout this country?  

I feel that issues like this are contributing to burnout of healthcare providers as well as eroding the trust that patients put in the healthcare system. Healthcare providers have been under increasing pressures over the past several years. These obstacles continue to push providers toward burnout and perhaps even out of the profession completely. Patients are often put in the middle of these conflicts to the detriment of their health. Until there is a large, fundamental change in how health care is paid for in this country, we need the insurance companies to provide appropriate reimbursement for the services provided to their members. 

If you could tell the head of Regence one thing, what would it be?  

Please think of the patients and their healthcare needs. By not having a contract with Legacy Health, thousands of their members won’t have access to the excellent care from Legacy providers and facilities. Legacy needs to be reimbursed appropriately for the care they provide so we can continue to maintain our services at our clinics and hospitals for their members. 

What would you ask of Regence as the date of termination draws closer? 

I would ask that they reconsider their position and put the wellbeing of their members, with whom they have contracted, above the bottom line profits. 

©2024 Legacy Health. All Rights Reserved.   Terms of Use   |   Privacy Policy