Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has named a new president of its Georgia operation simply days earlier than a doable contract cutoff with Northside Hospital.
Robert Bunch, a longtime Anthem official, replaces Pam Stahl, who has taken a job in one other business, the insurer stated late final week.
The management change comes amid a flurry of court docket exercise in the dispute, which has caught the eye of most of the estimated 400,000 Anthem sufferers in metro Atlanta who use Northside hospitals, clinics and docs.
Bunch, who previously was chief working officer and vice chairman of Anthem’s nationwide accounts, has already been concerned in the contract negotiations with Northside, the insurer stated. Bunch “will now take an much more distinguished position as our native enterprise chief,’’ stated Anthem spokeswoman Tina Gaines.
Northside’s potential departure from Anthem’s community would open a distinguished gap in the insurer’s supplier lineup in metro Atlanta.
For months, the 2 sides have been unable to achieve a deal on reimbursement charges.
Their contract was scheduled to finish Jan. 1, however Northside was granted an injunction by Fulton County Superior Court. Under the phrases of that court docket order, sufferers utilizing Northside’s medical providers will stay in the Anthem community till Jan. 31.
Anthem later filed a movement requesting an finish to that court docket order.
The most up-to-date step in the authorized battle entails a movement from Cherokee County, filed final week, to intervene in the matter as an added plaintiff backing Northside’s place. Cherokee, in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, famous that Northside operates the one hospital in the county.
“When Cherokee County contracted with Anthem to function the administrator of Cherokee County’s worker well being plan, it by no means imagined that Anthem would sooner or later exclude the one acute care hospital and numerous different indispensable (and irreplaceable) well being care suppliers in the county from its community,’’ the movement says.
The five-hospital Northside system has identified that the authorized battle comes in the course of the fifth surge of Covid-19 circumstances and hospitalizations, pushed by the extremely contagious Omicron variant.
In its court docket filings to delay the top of the contract, Northside cited a new Georgia legislation that went into impact in July. House Bill 454 features a provision saying that in a public well being emergency, an insurer is prohibited from ending such a contract with a medical supplier.
Northside Hospital Cherokee
In a press release asserting the new Georgia president, Anthem government Brian Shipp stated Bunch “brings a wealth of expertise to this position and a dedication to fulfilling our mission of bettering the lives and communities we serve.
“In addition to in-depth data of the well being care business, Robert is a confirmed chief who spent a few years in the Georgia market, which is able to profit our members, employer clients and supplier companions.”
Bunch stated in a press release that he’s “honored to be requested to steer Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in my dwelling state of Georgia.”
“We have a proficient, devoted workforce in Georgia targeted on innovation and collaboration in order to carry larger affordability and higher well being outcomes for the individuals we serve,’’ he stated.