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Byline: M. Paul Jackson
Mar. 29--Call it the Clash of the Titans.
In one corner, there's North Carolina's most popular health-insurance company, an organization with about 100,000 subscribers in Forsyth County. In the other corner, there's one of the region's most influential medical centers.
The contract dispute between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and N.C. Baptist Hospital pits two of the state's largest health-care organizations against each other. By the summer, Blue Cross subscribers could see significant changes in their health-care services, officials for both parties said.
Or they might not. Contentious contract talks between hospitals and health-insurance companies have become increasingly common, with both sides claiming unfair treatment before finally settling on a new contract, health-care experts said.
Indeed, the dispute illustrates the growing fight between hospitals and insurance companies over who controls the purse strings within health care.
Traditionally, "there's a cat-and-mouse game" in negotiating health-care contracts, said Steve Graybill a senior health-care analyst for Mercer Human Resource Consulting in Charlotte.
"I think the real question is, where do we go from here?"
Baptist Hospital announced this month that it would sever its relationship with Blue Cross on June 4. The hospital, part of Wake Forest …