Wakefield supervisor shares concerns of potential impact

The possible demise of the current health insurance agreement between Valley Health and Anthem of Virginia is of concern to Rappahannock County Supervisor Debbie Donehey.

“If they split it will impact many people in Rapp/Warren and I would think many more,” the Wakefield district representative told this newspaper. “Not good.”

“I do realize there is a bit of a game to it all, but this one seems to be getting more serious,” she expanded. “I think it has the possibility to really hit the locals hard.”

As in patients of the Valley Health clinic on Lee Highway in Washington, although the impact would be far more reaching. A change in participation would apply to all Valley Health locations and physicians, according to the not-for-profit locally-led health system.

“All of Valley Health Virginia locations [in this region] would be considered out-of-network,” according to Valley Health.

For Rappahannock County residents, besides the Lee Highway clinic, a split would impact all Valley Health physician practices, the Winchester Medical Center, Page Memorial Hospital, Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, and Warren Memorial Hospital.

In addition, affected joint venture partners would include Winchester Endoscopy Services, Blue Ridge Endoscopy, Valley Health Surgery Center, the Medical Circle, Valley Open MRI, and Winchester Open MRI.

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 All Anthem plans would be impacted, including commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare Advantage. Anthem insured patients still be able to access care at Valley Health in 2021, however all services would be processed by Anthem as out-of-network.

“As such, costs for care will be higher,” Valley Health states.

For “several months” a Valley Health team has worked with Anthem to achieve a new contract that would ensure patients continued in-network access to Valley Health caregivers and services, while also making sure its team could continue confronting the COVID-19 pandemic and other health challenges.

“Unfortunately, Anthem has been unwilling to work with Valley Health caregivers,” Valley Health says.

The bottom line: “We are preparing for the possibility that Valley Health will no longer be in-network with Anthem beginning January 1, 2021. If this occurs, Anthem will consider all Valley Health caregivers and services out-of-network, and Anthem-insured patients could see higher costs,” says the health network.

It says it will continue in the coming months to work with Anthem on a new contract.