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How many affected by Blue Shield-Sutter Health dispute?

How many affected by Blue Shield-Sutter Health dispute?

Picture of Jondi Gumz
(Photo by frankieleon via Flickr.)
(Photo by frankieleon via Flickr.)

In Santa Cruz County, the contract dispute between Blue Shield and Sutter Health hits home because of Sutter's large presence, 175 full-time physicians in the Sutter-affiliated Palo Alto Medical Foundation, new state of the art medical offices including one completed last year, and Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, a popular choice for pregnant moms because of the top ratings. Services provided by PAMF doctors cost more than services provided by other doctors, and Blue Shield is balking at paying the high rates it used to pay.

Finding out how many local residents are affected is no easy task. Blue Shield is a popular plan among public sector employees because of the access to PAMF doctors, so I asked seven of the largest public sector employers how many employees have a Blue Shield plan, enabling me to produce a chart that led me to conclude at least 3,000 workers are affected. Most said they do not track how many employees in Blue Shield plans chose a PAMF doctor, but one estimated 50-75 percent and another estimated 30 percent. 

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