CHS targets Tennessee law that aids competitor

Brentwood-based Community Health Systems wants to eliminate a Tennessee law that allows West Tennessee Healthcare — which owns Jackson-Madison County General, competitor of CHS' nearby Regional Hospital of Jackson, among other facilities — to negotiate exclusive contracts with insurance companies, such as BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, hindering the CHS hospital's ability to compete in the commercial insurance market.

The Jackson Sun reports:

West Tennessee Healthcare officials argue that removing the antitrust protection would eliminate their ability to fund certain charitable organizations and health care options by reducing net revenues. The organization is the fourth largest TennCare provider in the state. Officials have said the West Tennessee Healthcare system writes off millions each year in unreimbursed, under-reimbursed and uncollected patient accounts and that losing even a portion of the commercially insured account base could hurt its bottom line.

State Rep. Jimmy Eldridge, R-Jackson, said Friday that it is "almost certain" that bills attempting to eliminate the antitrust law will be resurrected this year. Eldridge opposed the legislation last year.

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