Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC has deselected MEDcare Urgent Care from their Urgent Care Provider Network. In their Code Blue Bulletin dated June 27th, BCBS of SC cited as rationale for why this de-selection is occurring as the following: “BlueCross evaluates our provider network regularly to ensure members have access to the most economical and high-quality care in every part of the state. In the past 10 years, we have seen rapid expansion of South Carolina’s urgent care market, resulting in numerous providers and duplicative services. In response to this trend, we decided to restructure our urgent care network.”
MEDcare strongly disagrees with this position by BCBS of SC. Here is our position in defense of patient’s rights to choose providers of their choice:
1) MEDcare is an extremely affordable provider of Urgent Care services. In fact, we are anywhere from 25-40% more affordable than the wholly owned BCBS urgent care subsidiary, Doctors Care. In 2013 alone, MEDcare saved its patients close to $12 million in cardiac evaluations compared to similar evaluations in the ER setting. Furthermore, we performed close to 5,000 free rechecks for patients with elevated blood pressure.
2) We provide high quality Urgent Care at our 6 centers across the state and are staffed by board certified physicians. Our urgent care centers are the only urgent care centers that guarantee our patients will be seen, evaluated and treated by physicians.
3) In a survey of over 23,000 patients seen at MEDcare, this is what they said about the quality of service provided:
a. 96% would recommend MEDcare to friends and family.
b. 87% of patients stated that they had an “Excellent” experience.
c. 89% of patients stated that customer service was “Excellent.”
4) MEDcare Urgent Care is the only statewide urgent care that offers consistent and convenient access to patients from 9am to 9pm, 363 days a year. No other statewide urgent care comes close to this level of access and convenience.
We have met with representatives from BCBS of SC at their headquarters in Columbia to understand their decision. At our meeting, representatives from BCBS, including their Medical Director, stated that there was “no specific cause” for de-selection. When we pressed to ask whether or not it was a matter of cost, quality or convenience they again stated that it “was not for cost, quality, convenience or access.”
MEDcare was established in 2006 by South Carolina physicians for South Carolina patients. Since our opening day, we have been in network with BCBS of SC in good standing and have provided our patients nothing but the best in quality. When BCBS of SC excludes or deselects MEDcare as an Urgent Care Provider, they are in essence excluding our patients from us. Our patients have chosen MEDcare to be their Urgent Care provider. We are fighting as advocates for our patients. When an insurance company excludes a physician out of a network, it traps the patients, who have to pay higher out-of-network fees to continue to see their provider of choice. MEDcare is on a mission to preserve patient choice. BCBS of SC has taken an unprecedented step towards restricting access, denying patient choice and subjecting them to fewer options at higher cost.
It is ironic that BCBS of SC has undertaken this position on the eve of the July 4th celebration. At a time when we celebrate July 4th as the holiday that marks the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America for Independence, BCBS of SC seeks to deselect MEDcare Urgent Care, the only independent physician owned and operated Urgent Care with a statewide presence, from its Urgent Care network.
Help us convince BCBS of SC to rethink their decision. To our patients and the citizens of South Carolina we say: “We’d rather spend our time fighting your illnesses and injuries, instead of your insurance company.”
If you believe that access to high quality, affordable urgent care that is convenient is something that should be determined by patients and health care consumers instead of insurance companies, you can support this cause. Help us fight for patient’s rights and patient choice
Help us stand up for patient choice and independence this July the 4th. Let Blue Cross Blue Shield hear your voice. Please feel free to reach out to me directly on my office number at (843) 576-5246 if you have any questions. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and help us take action to preserve patient choice by signing this petition.
Radwan S. Hallaba, M.D.
CEO, MEDcare Urgent Care
Please keep them in your network! We r fed up with all this playing around with our lives. Enough already! Let us go to whom we feel is right for us. Please!
I took our son to MedCare yesterday after receiving quite the "runaround" from both his primary care physician's office and another urgent care facility. The other urgent care facility is affiliated with BCBS. Both told me to take him to the ER for evaluation (the urgent care facility told me he might need a CT scan!). He simply fell off his bike and injured his rib cage and both the school nurse and I felt that he simply needed a doctor's evaluation and X-ray first. Even the ER agreed. So after hours of running around we landed at MedCare and rec'd outstanding, professional, and quick service (a simple evaluation and X-ray is all that was needed). And the prices were VERY reasonable, versus a possible $1000 ER bill. I highly recommend MedCare. And I worked in healthcare management for 20 years. Will NEVER contact a Doctor's Care ever again.
Thank you for your comments and the RIGHT to Freedom of Choice and your Health Care of Choice.
John Harrison, VP Operations
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- A MAJOR VICTORY FOR PATIENT’S RIGHTS Charleston, SC – October 8, 2014 - MEDcare Urgent Care Centers, an independently-owned, physician-directed urgent care provider in South Carolina, is proud to announce all Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans are accepted in every MEDcare clinic across the state. “Over the past 120 days, citizens, municipalities, business owners, mayors and political leaders, union workers, the SCMA and healthcare providers have stood side-by-side with MEDcare in our fight to champion patient’s rights,” said Dr. Radwan Hallaba, CEO of MEDcare Urgent Care. ”Today, South Carolinians can celebrate a great victory in the preservation of a patient’s choice in receiving healthcare. “As many of you know,” Dr. Hallaba continues, “Blue Cross Blue Shield had previously chosen to de-select MEDcare as an urgent care provider, adversely affecting families, employers and virtually any citizen needing urgent care services. After touring MEDcare’s facilities, and fully understanding the level of patient care our doctors and clinical staff provide, Blue Cross Blue Shield has rescinded their de-selection of MEDcare.” Dr. Pawlik, Chief Medical Officer for MEDcare Urgent Care adds, “We applaud Blue Cross Blue Shield’s leadership for taking this patient-centric approach to affordable healthcare. Independent, non-hospital and non-insurer owned healthcare practices are integral to the overall success and well being of an innovative and evolving healthcare ecosystem; they stand as independent guardians to preserve affordable, high quality and convenient healthcare.” MEDcare Urgent care wants to thank all of you, especially the nearly 3,000 people who signed our petition, for your ongoing support throughout this process. It is a privilege to provide care to those in need, whether it is an injury, sickness or simply assisting patients with navigating the healthcare maze. Your voice has been clearly heard, and MEDcare will continue to build and earn your trust for life’s everyday healthcare needs. About MEDcare Urgent Care MEDcare Urgent Care is a Charleston-based urgent care provider, with six locations throughout South Carolina. MEDcare Urgent Care Centers in Charleston, Columbia and Anderson offer an industry-leading healthcare experience, by creating a culture which is innovative, nimble and most importantly, singularly focused on the patient. MEDcare Urgent Care is the only physician-owned, minority-owned urgent care operator in South Carolina, and also separates itself from other providers by always having a physician on site. To learn more about MEDcare Urgent Care, please contact Kelly Moore at (843) 860-4038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Awesome! We are now over 1,100 signatures! We want to say thank you for your help in fighting for patient rights. Keep spreading the word and stay updated by liking us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MEDcare We will be having a video contest very soon where you will have the opportunity to send in a video telling your healthcare story. You will have the chance to win up to $1,000 in cash to help pay for your healthcare bills/needs. For more details, you should "Like" our page on Facebook (see link above). Thanks again for all of your support.
- Wow! Thanks to you signing and sharing this petition with your friends and family, we have reached over 400 signatures. We are also pleased to say that we are featured in the Post and Courier (Charleston) and will be on WLTX 19 (Columbia) tonight to inform the public about this very important issue. Continue to fight with us! LIKE MEDcare Urgent Care on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MEDcare and share our posts! We're already creating a buzz, but let's get a little louder. We want Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC to let the patients choose what provider is right for them, so let's make sure they hear us!