Poor Families Now Have Access to Specialized Health Care

May 29, 2008 7:23:49 PM PDT
35,000 valley children have been looking out of town for specialized health care. They couldn't go to Children's Hospital Central California because the hospital canceled its contract with Blue Cross. But now the hospital doors are open to them once again.Fresno's poorest families are celebrating the new contract between Children's Hospital Central California and Anthem Blue Cross.

Reverend Sharon Stanley works with local refugees. She has been pushing the hospital and insurance company to reach an agreement since last August. Stanley said, "It's been a very confusing time for medical and healthy families."

In August, Children's Hospital ended its contract with Blue Cross leaving children of low income families with few options for specialized care. Stanley says the parents who rely on Medi-Cal and Healthy Families program have been going out of town when their children become very ill.

Hospital spokesperson Micheline Golden said they had to rework a contract with the insurance company, "The hospital lost nearly 11 million dollars in the last year. To frame that, at that same time the hospital's total loss was 18 million dollars. So a huge percentage of it was on that contract."

Golden declined to discuss the contract's details. But she said the disagreement was over reimbursements paid to the hospital. Stanley said, "Our hope is that this will not be continued to be repeated. Community members will continue to be watchful and to be careful."

The contract between Children's Hospital and Blue Cross expires in two years. Both sides hope the next round of negotiations won't leave poor children with no place for specialized care.


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