With agreement signed, UMMC patients with Blue Cross Insurance remain in networkPublished on Monday, August 5, 2013By: Jack Mazurak at 601-984-1970 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Published in Press Releases on August 05, 2013 (PDF)JACKSON, Miss. – Leaders at the University of Mississippi Medical Center signed a one-year agreement today with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi, ending six months of negotiations with the insurer.With the agreement in place, patients insured through Blue Cross can continue to receive in-network care at UMMC. The existing contract was set to expire Aug. 28.“We’re glad that we were able to come to an agreement without any disruption in coverage,” said Dr. James Keeton, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We were very concerned about how this issue was going to impact our patients. While UMMC needs equitable reimbursement for the highly specialized services we provide, the last thing we wanted to do was to inconvenience or cause hardship for our patients.”Citing reimbursement substantially below its peer institutions in neighboring states, Medical Center administrators engaged Blue Cross in negotiations earlier this year.As the state’s only academic medical center, UMMC provides advanced care not available at other Mississippi facilities, including the state’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, only children’s hospital and children’s trauma services, only level IV neonatal intensive care unit and its only organ transplant services, among many others. Together with the Mississippi State Department of Health, UMMC leads the state’s medical response during disasters. The availability of these services benefits all Mississippians. As well, UMMC cares for the state’s most complex medical cases, which often require multi-disciplinary teams of experts and sub-specialists.UMMC initially set a June 28 deadline to reach an agreement or terminate its contract. Negotiators extended it to July 17, and again through August 28.