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October 03, 2017

Independence Blue Cross reaches deal to include five local hospitals

Independence Blue Cross customers will continue to receive in-network health care coverage at five area hospitals after reaching a deal with a Reading-based health care provider.

Independence and Tower Health have agreed to a new, three-year contract that will extend in-network care for three years at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia, Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville, Phoenixville Hospital, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center and Jennersville Regional Hospital in West Grove, Chester County, officials said. Reading Hospital will also remain in the Independence network.

"Providing patients, members, and communities continued access to quality, affordable care in this region is paramount for both organizations; and resolving these discussions quickly was in the best interest of members and patients," said a joint statement issued by Clint Matthews, president and CEO of Tower Health, and Anthony V. Coletta, M.D., MBA, president of Independence Blue Cross Facilitated Health Networks.

"We are confident that this agreement will serve as the foundation for a strong relationship between our two organizations," the executives said.

Tower Health closed earlier this week on an asset purchase of the five hospitals from Tennessee-based Community Health Systems.

Tower had rejected the Independence in-network deal before completing the hospital purchases. Independence had provider agreements through next year at all five of the hospitals.

On Monday, Matthews had told the Reading Eagle that he hoped the two sides would be able to reach an agreement this month and be able to avoid the "worst-case scenario" of patients losing their doctors or hospital coverage.

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