Media contacts:

Lisa McCluskey, Memorial, 423-595-8023

Mary Danielson, BlueCross, 423-535-8364

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Memorial Health Care System and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced today they have reached a new five-year agreement. The new contract allows BlueCross members to use services at Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospital Hixson, and the Mary Ellen Locher Breast Center on an in-network basis in the health plan’s Network P and Medicare Advantage products.

Financial terms were not disclosed for the new agreement which becomes effective Sept. 1, 2012. The two parties have been negotiating for the past several months on a new contract, with the previous agreement expiring on July 31, 2012.

“Throughout our negotiations with BlueCross, our patients were always our number one priority and we worked diligently to keep their access to our services,” said Jim Hobson, president and CEO of Memorial Health Care System. “While these negotiations were difficult at times, they were also very important to our organizations.

“This new agreement strikes the right balance between reimbursements that keep costs low and improving quality for our patients. We feel the new contract reimburses Memorial fairly for the services we provide to BlueCross members and recognizes the value Memorial brings to people in Southeast Tennessee. We look forward to continuing our relationship with BlueCross,” said Hobson.

“In our negotiations with Memorial we wanted to achieve rates that are both competitive for the marketplace and linked to quality measures because we believe they are in the best interest of our members. We are pleased that Memorial Health Care System is once again a participating provider in our Network P and Medicare Advantage products,” said Bill Gracey, president and CEO-Elect at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “Both BlueCross and Memorial have a responsibility to keep costs low and quality high – this new agreement helps us to do both. As a five-year agreement, it also helps us achieve a measure of stability for our customers in a changing health care landscape. Memorial is a valued partner in serving our members in Southeast Tennessee, and we are pleased to have reached a resolution.”

Patients can begin using Memorial Health Care System for services on an in-network basis effective September 1. Memorial reiterated its pledge to not collect any additional deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance amounts from BlueCross members related to out-of-network care provided to them at its facilities from Aug. 1, 2012 through Aug. 31, 2012.

About Memorial Health Care System

Memorial Health Care System is a not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare organization. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and strengthened as part of Catholic Health Initiatives, it offers a continuum of care including preventative, primary and acute hospital care, as well as cancer and cardiac care, orthopedic and rehabilitation services. Memorial is a regional referral center of choice with 4,000 associates and more than 700 affiliated physicians providing health care throughout Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Memorial Health Care System is recognized as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Thomson Reuters, the health care industry’s leading source of information on hospital quality. To learn more, visit www.memorial.org

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.