Richard Embrey, MD, medical director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, feels that among the numerous strains that the coronavirus pandemic has placed on the healthcare sector, the payer-provider relationship has undergone significant changes. In a podcast, he discusses how the ravenous health emergency has dramatically changed the healthcare system as a whole.
- Endeavors: According to Dr. Embrey, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama endeavored to assist hospitals throughout the epidemic, which led to insightful discussions that will be beneficial as the globe moves away from the coronavirus. Costs and sophisticated technology, on the other hand will resurface shortly, and he expects that the gains achieved during the epidemic will be carried over.
- Alterations: The pandemic changed the conversation dramatically. Blue Cross, like most insurers, did not have the same financial impact that hospitals and providers had. We continued to collect premiums from members while hospitals had to shut down surgeries, while physicians couldn’t see members face-to-face.
- Commitments: “ So we were able to work with hospitals, particularly smaller, rural hospitals here in Alabama, to really work on some advanced payments to try and help them keep their doors open and to sort of mute the financial impact during the worst part of the COVID crisis. I think this improved the relationship between hospitals. We talked about things that we really hadn’t talked about before. I hope that goodwill will last, and I think it really has improved the dialogue”, said Dr. Embrey.
- Consequences: According to him, BCBS is anticipating an increase in healthcare expenses and prices in the next year as a result of COVID-19. Non-healthcare prices are beginning to rise for BCBS and its workers as well. Inflation is wreaking havoc on the economy, and healthcare inflation is typically higher and arrives ahead of overall inflation.
- Changings: “So I think that unfortunately, some of our conversations with the hospitals are going to have to go back to that topic of prices and reimbursement. So I think that’s how they’re going to change probably in the next year. We’re going to come back and start having to talk about costs”, he mentioned.