Blue Cross, Blue Shield to buy Lovelace Health Plan

November 12, 2013 • Local News

Blue Cross [auth] and Blue Shield of New Mexico plans to buy Lovelace Health Plan, in a deal that is expected to close at the end of December.

The acquisition will not include Lovelace’s hospitals or clinics, said Laurie Volkin, Lovelace’s communications manager.

“Lovelace Health Plan members in Roswell can continue to access services at Lovelace Regional Hospital-Roswell and all Lovelace hospitals in Albuquerque, now and after the transaction is finalized,” Volkin said.

The Roswell hospital will not change its name, she said.

The transaction is subject to state and federal regulatory approvals and other conditions. Both are anticipated to close by Dec. 31.

Lovelace Health System operates six hospitals and a health plan. The health plan serves 108,000 members in New Mexico, but was not chosen to remain in the New Mexico Medicaid managed care program, Centennial Care, earlier this year.

The health plan lost 84,000 members when this occurred, and it transferred its Medicaid operations to Molina this summer.

If BCBS is allowed to purchase LHP, the transaction may impact LHP’s some 350 employees, according to LHP’s news release issued Monday.

“Lovelace Health Plan is comprised of a talented team of professionals whose skills are in great demands, and we will do everything possible to minimize the number of affected individuals,” said Ron Stern, Lovelace Health System president and CEO.

Stern said LHP did not foresee having to make the decision to sell to BCBS.

Lovelace does not anticipate that the LHS provider operations and facilities will be impacted by the transactions. Efforts are under way to continue expanding the system’s network of physicians.

In the last year, the system has added more than 70 providers to the Lovelace Medical Group and invested $18 million in new equipment, programs and services throughout the system.

BCBS of New Mexico President Kurt Shipley said he is pleased to have an opportunity to serve members of LHP.

“We welcome Lovelace Health Plan members to our network and we look forward to working closely with Lovelace, members, doctors and other health care professionals to address each individual’s evolving health care needs while helping them successfully navigate the evolving health care system,” Shipley said.

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