I regret to announce that we will not be renewing our contract with Regence BlueShield, one of four primary providers of private healthcare insurance for patients served by Harrison. The current contract expires on April 30, after which Harrison will no longer be a Regence network hospital. At issue is the Regence reimbursement rate for our patient care.
At the core of this decision is our continued ability to meet our mission while responding to a turbulent healthcare environment. Unfortunately, this hard choice is the direct result of an industry that is beleaguered by skyrocketing healthcare costs, crippling cuts to state and federally funded healthcare programs, and escalating shortages of healthcare professionals. As a result, providers of commercial healthcare insurance are bearing an ever-increasing share of the burden. At Harrison, we feel strongly that this burden should be shared equitably among our insurers, with all paying approximately the same costs.
We don't take this decision lightly. We know it has a very real impact on our community; patients and physicians alike. However, we simply cannot absorb the increasing difference between what Regence is willing to pay and what the care costs.
If we are to continue to meet the needs of our community, we must look to every revenue source. As a not-for-profit hospital, we receive no direct tax subsidies. Revenues are returned to our community in the form of services, technology, facilities, and programs. As a community hospital we are both obligated and honored to care for our entire community, including those who are under- or uninsured. It's at the heart of our mission. In 2002 Harrison provided more than $2.3 million in charity care-a number that is expected to rise.
Because we know that this contract non-renewal has an impact in our community, we are making our best effort to communicate with all those who are affected, aiming to provide clarity so that people aren't further burdened by confusion. It is our understanding that Regence BlueShield's PEBB members will not be impacted by this change. Also, those Regence members who currently are receiving recurring care at Harrison will continue to receive coverage for a defined period of time. And Regence will continue to pay for emergency care at Harrison, directly reimbursing its subscribers.
Because coverage and medical circumstances vary among subscribers, we encourage individuals to call the Regence customer service representative toll free at 1-877-258-3782 for answers to their individual questions.
Thank you for your continued faith in Harrison as we face making difficult decisions on behalf of our community.
President and CEO