HCA takes on Tennessee Blues plan over non-network patient discounts

HCA Health Services of Tennessee, part of Nashville-based hospital chain HCA Inc., has filed suit in Davidson County Chancery Court claiming that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) in Chattanooga is "unilaterally applying a large discount on the Hospitals' bills" by underpaying for "Network S" patients by more than $7.8 million, reports the Nashville Business Journal. Network S patients aren't included in any contracts for discounted rates between HCA and BCBST. However, these patients "frequently" receive services from HCA because hospitals aren't allowed to divert emergency patients, according to the lawsuit. In fact, HCA hospitals have already treated more than 3,700 Network S patients in the emergency room. "Blue Cross' systematic underpayment of Network S claims is even more concerning to the Hospitals because Blue Cross does not apply a uniform or consistent method of paying claims," states the lawsuit. Article