Tx. App. Dist. 5
Jim Moseley Justice
Before Justices Morris, Moseley, and Myers
Opinion By Justice Moseley
In this breach of contract case, appellant GPA Holding, Inc. challenges the trial court's summary judgment awarding damages to appellee Baylor Health Care System based on GPA's obligation to pay certain health care claims. Because we conclude the trial judge correctly interpreted the three written contracts governing the parties' relationship, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
Baylor provides health care services to individual patients. Many of Baylor's patients are members of health plans. Baylor has many contracts with health benefit entities, including insurance companies and preferred provider organizations (PPOs), through which individual patients gain access to Baylor's hospitals and services at discounted rates.
Private Healthcare Systems, Inc. (PHCS) operates a network of PPOs. PHCS enters into contracts known as preferred provider agreements with health care providers (such as Baylor) to negotiate discounts from the providers' full charges for health care services. PHCS also enters into contracts known as subscriber services agreements with insurance companies, employer health plans, managed care organizations, and third-party administrators, to provide them and their members access to health care services at the discounted rates established by the preferred provider agreements.
GPA is a third-party administrator; its customers are self-funded health plans. Third-party administrators provide claims handling services and administrative support to health plans. By contracting with various PPO networks, such as PHCS, GPA also offers its customers-and their members-access to medical services from a network of providers (e.g. Baylor) at discounted rates.
Baylor sued GPA for failure to pay for health care services Baylor provided to members of certain health care plans administered by GPA. GPA in turn filed a third-party action against PHCS. Both Baylor and GPA moved for summary judgment; Baylor in fact filed several motions for partial summary judgment. The trial judge granted Baylor's motions and denied GPA's motion. The parties then entered into an agreed final judgment and severance, by which GPA's third-party claims against PHCS were severed into a separate cause, and final judgment was entered for Baylor. GPA appeals the judgment in favor of Baylor. PHCS is not a party to this appeal. II. Standard of Review
*fn1 The trial court's judgment recites that the full name of the plaintiff is "Baylor Health Care System, on behalf of Baylor All Saints Medical Center, Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital, Baylor Specialty Hospital, Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, Baylor University Medical Center, Baylor Medical Center at Garland, Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine, Baylor Medical Center at Irving, Our Children's House at Baylor, Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, and Baylor Medical Center Ellis County."
*fn2 The Subscriber Services Agreement was actually between PHCS and a Texas corporation named "Group & Pension Administrators, Inc." The parties entered into a Rule 11 agreement that "[f]or purposes of this case, G&P Administrators, Inc, and GPA Holding, Inc. agree that they can be treated as one entity for the purpose of discovery and liability." In accordance with this agreement, in this opinion we will refer only to GPA.
*fn3 The Subscriber Services Agreement recites its purpose: A.PHCS is in the business of providing provider networks and a comprehensive medical management system, including utilization review, quality assurance, and other cost containment related services throughout the United States. B.Plans offered and managed by Subscriber [GPA] provide health benefits and/or services to eligible participants under health benefit plans. C.Plans offered and managed by Subscriber generally include financial incentives to encourage eligible participants to choose treatment from providers who have contracted with entities, such as preferred provider organizations and exclusive provider organizations, who are in the business of offering provider discounts and other managed medical benefits. D.Subscriber is interested in and intent upon becoming a subscriber for services of PHCS, thus availing itself of the PHCS comprehensive medical management system.
*fn4 Except as discussed herein.