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Piedmont, Blue Cross finalize deal
Health care provider, insurance giant sign paperwork

Piedmont Healthcare and insurer Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia have reached a deal to restore coverage for thousands of consumers.

The companies signed the deal Friday night and announced it Monday, nearly a week after Gov. Nathan Deal said the two sides had reached a “handshake agreement” to allow in-network coverage of Piedmont services for Blue Cross cardholders.

A previous deal between the two parties expired March 31, leaving about 500,000 Georgians to face out-of-network bills from most facilities operated by Atlanta-based Piedmont.

The agreement ensures Anthem Blue Cross members may see their Piedmont doctors and visit Piedmont hospitals — including Piedmont Newton Hospital in Covington — as an in-network visit. The deal covers visits and services since April 1.

Piedmont said it would begin calling patients — particularly those who canceled appointments for hospital-based services — who canceled or delayed care since the previous deal expired. However, all are encouraged to call their doctor to reschedule.

“Preserving the relationship between the patient and their preferred health care provider has been our number one goal during this entire negotiation,” Kevin Brown, the Piedmont Healthcare president and CEO, said in a statement.

“We know this has been difficult for our patients, and we are glad to finally have a resolution that restores and protects patient care.”

The new contract between Piedmont and Anthem Blue Cross extends into 2021.

Deal had put pressure on both sides to break their impasse quickly. The state government and Georgia university system had agreed to make up the difference between in-network and out-of-network costs for its employees who used Anthem Blue Cross to access care at Piedmont facilities in April.