Press Release

October 20, 2022
Maryland Congressional Delegation Members Urge Hopkins, CareFirst to Reach Contract Agreement to Protect Marylanders’ Health Care Access

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie B. Raskin, and David Trone (all D-Md.) sent a letter to Johns Hopkins Medicine CEO Ted DeWeese and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield President & CEO Brian Pieninck urging the two parties to reach a contract resolution before the upcoming health insurance enrollment deadline to ensure hundreds of thousands of Marylanders do not risk losing access to their current care.

“We write to express our concern regarding the status of the contract negotiations between Johns Hopkins Medicine (Hopkins) and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) that threaten many of our constituents’ access to high-quality, affordable health care in Maryland. We are aware that if an agreement is not reached by December 5, 2022, many Marylanders will need to find new providers or change to a new health insurance plan in order to continue accessing the care they need. Thus, we strongly urge Hopkins and CareFirst to work collaboratively to reach a contract resolution ahead of the December deadline,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We urge both Hopkins and CareFirst to work collaboratively and earnestly to reach a fair contract resolution ahead of the December 5, 2022 deadline that puts patients first, keeps avenues to top tier care open to all that rely on them, and limits the impact on cost of care to patients,” they concluded.

Full text of the letter can be viewed here and below.

Dear Mr. DeWeese and Mr. Pieninck:

We write to express our concern regarding the status of the contract negotiations between Johns Hopkins Medicine (Hopkins) and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) that threaten many of our constituents’ access to high-quality, affordable health care in Maryland. We are aware that if an agreement is not reached by December 5, 2022, many Marylanders will need to find new providers or change to a new health insurance plan in order to continue accessing the care they need. Thus, we strongly urge Hopkins and CareFirst to work collaboratively to reach a contract resolution ahead of the December deadline.

As you know, this negotiation process is occurring during open enrollment season, a critical decision-making time for patients and families as they consider which health plans will work best for them and their loved ones in the coming year. While CareFirst members were advised that this will not immediately impact anyone’s access to healthcare services offered through Hopkins, ongoing negotiation terms for the provider rates continue to increase uncertainty around coverage of primary care and specialty services, surgery centers, hospital in-network status, and the impact on the cost of care for patients. If CareFirst and Hopkins do not come to an agreement, nearly 40,000 providers employed by Hopkins will be out-of-network, including providers at the Johns Hopkins flagship hospital, Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, and Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. We continue to hear from many of our constituents with concerns that a breakdown in negotiations between Hopkins and CareFirst would greatly impede their access to primary and specialty care moving forward.

We believe Hopkins and CareFirst are committed to reaching a resolution that best serves patients across our communities in Maryland and surrounding areas that also rely on this collaborative care system between Hopkins and CareFirst. We applaud the ongoing, good-faith negotiations and remain hopeful that both organizations will find a solution before the December deadline. This resolution is vital for the health of our constituents in Maryland, and patients that rely on specialty care across the Mid-Atlantic region.

We urge both Hopkins and CareFirst to work collaboratively and earnestly to reach a fair contract resolution ahead of the December 5, 2022 deadline that puts patients first, keeps avenues to top tier care open to all that rely on them, and limits the impact on cost of care to patients.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

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