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Houston County Courier - Local News

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BCBS Responds To Little River Healthcare Allegations


By Lynda Jones

When Little River Healthcare's (LRH) Chief Legal Officer Ryan Downton announced the management company's intent to close Timberlands Healthcare (Timberlands) in advance of filing for bankruptcy, he laid a significant chunk of the blame on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBS). BCBS provided a response Wednesday, June 28. Downton alleged that BCBS owes LRH $32 million in unpaid claims, and that $22 million of that debt is more than six months old. Downton said this debt is not owed to Timberlands. During the Tuesday, June 27, Houston County Hospital District board meeting, Timberlands CEO Jeff Perry further confirmed that Blue Cross Blue Shield is current with its accounts at Timberlands. Perry moved to Crockett four months ago – in February. LRH took over management of Houston County Medical Center in April 2016, then signed a 20- year lease agreement with the Houston County Hospital District in October 2016. At the same time as the lease was signed, the name changed to Timberlands Healthcare. Little River Healthcare is the parent company. Downton further alleged BCBS is withholding funds owed because the insurance company wants medical records for all the claims. LRH sent 1,800 records to BCBS at the beginning of April, and at this time only 108 have been reviewed by BCBS, according to Downton. When the Houston County Courier asked for a BCBS response to Downton's allegations, James Campbell, BCBS media contact for Southeast/Southwest Texas, issued the following statement: "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has been working diligently to resolve the issue with Little River Healthcare. "We are committed to providing our members access to costeffective, quality health care, and always have their best interest in mind. "In this regard, we are obligated to pay our providers based upon information that accurately reflects services provided. Because this is an open investigation we cannot comment further."


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