Reader View: Christus remains committed to Medicare Advantage patients

Bruce Tassin

For 150 years, Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center has served the health care needs of Santa Fe and communities throughout Northern New Mexico. This long-standing legacy of care and compassion has given us the opportunity to be a trusted provider to more than 300,000 people annually, and we’re so appreciative of the loyalty and support we have received from our patients and their families over the years.

I wanted to take a moment to address some concerns raised in recent letters to the editor and also to provide some clarification on some important changes in our Medicare Advantage health plan options for 2016.

After careful consideration, we will no longer participate in the Presbyterian Medicare Advantage HMO or Presbyterian Medicare Advantage PPO health plans. This decision was not made lightly. Factors considered included:

u The Medicare Advantage population here in Santa Fe has several health plan options to choose from. In fact, our hospital alone will participate in six such plans in 2016.

u Even though our hospital was contracted with Presbyterian’s Medicare Advantage plan, our physicians were never in-network for these members, which caused confusion as well as major administrative issues for the hospital and for our patients.

The trust that a patient places in his or her provider is a critical part of the healing process.

As a result of our decision to make this important change, Medicare Advantage patients will be able to select health care coverage that is close to home and that includes all of our facilities and all of our physicians. Emergency services will always be available to all.

If you currently have a Presbyterian Medicare Advantage health plan, you can continue to receive care at our facilities through Dec. 31, 2015. Medicare Advantage seniors should know that if you choose a Presbyterian Medicare Advantage health plan during open enrollment, you will not have in-network access to our facilities or physicians in 2016. This information is important as you prepare for open enrollment that begins on Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7.

During open enrollment, all Medicare Advantage health plan seniors should consider choosing a plan that includes Christus St. Vincent hospitals and physicians in its network. We are in-network with all other Medicare Advantage plans, including:

u Amerivantage, 866-805-4589

u Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, 866-246-8340

u Care Improvement Plus, 855-633-4198

u Christus Health Plan, 844-282-3026

u Humana, 866-945-4481

Our 150-year commitment to the residents of Northern New Mexico has allowed us to learn and to be responsive to your health care needs. This knowledge helps us maintain a health care network that best fits our community’s needs. Thank you for allowing us to serve you and for making us your trusted provider. For additional questions, please call the hospital’s Dedicated Community Information Line at 629-4312.

Bruce Tassin is president and CEO of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

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(2) comments

Joe Brownrigg

I think Jorden is correct in his assessment!
I am changing my Medicare Advantage coverage to Presbyterian. The fact that St. Christus is no longer working with Presbyterian is a PLUS in my book. I've been a patient at St. Christus several times. It is a terrible hospital. The efficiency, the quality of medical care and the cleanliness of the place is terribly sub-par!
Unless my life were in danger and time was of the essence, I will always go to another hospital. There are several hospitals available that are much better!!
On second thought, scratch St. Christus all together! It would take too long to gain admittance and I'd die in the waiting room!!![sad]

Jorden Nye

This editorial by the CEO of Christis St. Vincent brought a smile to my face. Does he think that people are falling for his questionable excuses for no longer providing health services to Presbyterian Medicare Advantage's 2,000 members? First, he says that seniors can use several other Medicare Advantage health care plans. So what's wrong with including one more, Presbyterian? Second, he says that their physicians were never "in network" to Presbyterian clients. You're the CEO, so you can certainly make Cristis St. Vincent Hospital available to Presbyterian members, and you can encourage all your "in network" doctors to also join Presbyterian's network of doctors. Hmmm... I think he forgot a 3rd, and the real reason - Christis St. Vincent wants to maintain their monopoly in the Santa Fe region. They aren't thrilled with the new 30,000 square foot Presbyterian Medical Center across the street from their hospital. This only makes me want to encourage Presbyterian to build a full fledged hospital in Santa Fe post haste as a response to arrogant Christis St. Vincent and bring some competition to our community.

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