Quality medical care in the North Country is already a hot topic. Many local families struggle to get the care they need, and especially, pay for it.
Now, a dispute between WellNow Urgent Care and Excellus Blue Cross & Blue Shield, could make those struggles even worse.
WellNow is claiming Excellus is using unfair payment practices for their services. WellNow operates as an urgent care facility, which it claims is very different from the way a primary care office would operate. It boasts longer hours, and better availability than most local primary care offices. Because of this, WellNow says it should be paid more money than a primary care office.
Excellus doesn’t agree, saying: “WellNow has asked for a rate increase that would far exceed local primary care provider reimbursement. Given the fact that a majority of the services WellNow provides to our members is primary care based, we do not think it’s fair to advantage WellNow over our local primary care providers, who offer similar services in our communities.”
WellNow said: “…The truth is that without better rates from insurance providers like Excellus, there’s a very real threat to the care that urgent care centers provide across the state of New York.”
If the two don’t come to an agreement before January, WellNow would then become ‘out-of-network’ for patients with Excellus. That means they’d either have to go elsewhere, or pay the entire bill out-of-pocket.
WellNow operates 79 urgent care clinics in New York, including the one on Route 3, in Plattsburgh.