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PEORIA — OSF HealthCare says it decided to stop accepting Meridian Medicare and Medicaid plans in less than two weeks because Meridian owes OSF “millions of dollars” for outstanding claims.

The Peoria-based Catholic health system announced last week that it had failed to come to terms with Meridian after months of negotiations and issued a notice of termination effective Dec. 15. OSF didn’t provide a reason for the notice until Monday.

The money owed is for services OSF provided Meridian members over the past five years, according to OSF.

“Meridian’s inability to pay claims per industry standards within the contractually required amount of time has created an unmanageable administrative burden for OSF in billing for services it provides,” OSF senior VP Randy Billings said. “Meridian’s demand that OSF resubmit claims that were properly submitted is completely unreasonable.”

OSF has contacted the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Meridian members to make them aware of the situation, Billings said.

If the contract is terminated as of Dec. 15, Meridian members who want to remain with OSF providers can choose a different Medicaid managed-care plan, according to OSF.

In response, Meridian issued a statement saying it’s hopeful that an agreement will be reached.

“Our members’ continuity of care remains our number-one priority,” spokeswoman Patti Flesher said.