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Fairview’s insurance negotiations confuse patients

By Jeff Kiger

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

RED WING — There’s Fairview Health Systems in the Twin Cities, and then there’s Fairview Red Wing.

While both are part of the Fairview group of hospitals and clinics, the Red Wing group has a separate insurance contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

That’s an important distinction, because Fairview in the Twin Cities and Blue Cross are negotiating a contract that expires Aug. 23. That means care at the metro facilities would be considered out-of-network for patients if no agreement is settled by that date.

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However, that would not affect the Red Wing, Zumbrota and Ellsworth Fairview group until Nov. 7.

Blue Cross sent letters to all of its customers, which added to the murkiness of the situation.

"We’re getting a lot confused patients," says Marcy Dowse, spokeswoman for Fairview Red Wing.

Fairview Red Wing Chief Executive Officer Scott Wordelman says Fairview Red Wing also is talking to Blue Cross.

"We are continuing our separate negotiations with Blue Cross and are hopeful that we, as well as Fairview Health Services, can come to an agreement," says Wordelman.

Dowse explained that the reason the Red Wing facilities have a contract separate from the metro is because it had its own Blue Cross deal when it joined Fairview in 1997.

Fairview Red Wing has a staff of about 800 people.

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