WNY Immediate Care and BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York have reached an agreement that allows the system of five urgent care centers to remain a participating provider within the insurance company’s network. The agreement, effective Tuesday, resolves a months-long contract dispute between the organizations.
The insurer in November had notified state regulators that it planned to drop Immediate Care from its network as of Jan. 1 after Immediate Care rejected BlueCross BlueShield’s established community rates for urgent-care providers in the area. Immediate Care had said it wasn’t seeking a rate hike but it refused to accept the lower rates offered by BlueCross BlueShield, and in December the urgent-care provider won a State Supreme Court ruling that extended its contract with BlueCross BlueShield through Monday.
BlueCross BlueShield said in a statement today that Immediate Care has agreed to the insurer’s established community rates. “As the region’s leading health plan, we continue to advocate for lower costs and highest quality for our members,” said Julie R. Snyder, a spokeswoman for BlueCross BlueShield, which has 600,000 members in upstate New York.
Immediate Care has five centers in Erie County: two in Amherst and one each in North Buffalo, Cheektowaga and Orchard Park. It is operated by the Amherst-based Exigence Group, which was purchased last year by TeamHealth Holdings Inc., a physician-staffing company in Knoxville, Tenn. TeamHealth did not immediately respond to requests for comment.