New Partnership with Blue Cross NC – Blue Premier

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, UNC Health Care announced a new partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) to transform health care across the state, improve care, and lower costs for our patients in North Carolina. Blue Premier is a new value-based model of care in which Blue Cross NC and UNC Health Alliance providers are jointly responsible for better health outcomes, exceptional patient experience and lower costs. This alternative payment model is a significant step in our ​transition to Value-based care.

On Tuesday, Jan. 15, UNC Health Care announced a new partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) to transform health care across the state, improve care, and lower costs for our patients in North Carolina. Blue Premier is a new value-based model of care in which Blue Cross NC and UNC Health Alliance providers are jointly responsible for better health outcomes, exceptional patient experience and lower costs. This alternative payment model is a significant step in our transition to Value-based care.

UNC Health Care believes that health care must be more affordable and quality must improve. We must change incentives by creating alternative payment models (APM) that accelerate healthcare systems’ ability to fundamentally change how we deliver care. Blue Premier shifts our focus from volume-based care to rewarding for value and health outcomes through shared savings opportunities and bonuses based on the quality of care we deliver.  

Our success in the Blue Premier model will depend on UNC Health Alliance providers effectively managing populations, preventing avoidable acute care by leveraging higher value treatment settings, reducing unnecessary care variation to maximize quality and decrease cost, and appropriately capturing population risk.

On Jan. 15, Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health Care and Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, along with four other health system leaders across North Carolina, gathered with executives from Blue Cross NC to announce their participation in Blue Premier. 

“This partnership with Blue Cross NC is a critical step in our journey to transition to Value-based care,” said Dr. Mark Gwynne, President and Executive Medical Director, UNC Health Alliance. “Value-based programs and alternative payment models, like Blue Premier, open new opportunities for UNC that will allow us to focus on strengthening our relationships with patients as they move through life-stages and experience health care needs. We will have more opportunity to provide comprehensive and coordinated care across the health care continuum. For us to be successful, primary care, specialty care, hospital-based providers, and health care agencies, such as home health and skilled nursing facilities will need to work together to collaborate and communicate and provide cohesive care to patients.” 

“Success in Blue Premier will come from a focus on expertly managing patient populations, reducing inappropriate utilization and unnecessary care variation, and a proactive approach to quality improvement” said Robb Malone, Pharm D., System Vice President of Practice Quality, Innovation, and Population Health Services, UNC Health Care.  “UNC Health Alliance practices will receive support services from our team members such as case managers, improvement coaches, and population health support specialists.  We will collaborate with providers to identify improvement opportunities, establish continuous quality improvement programs, close patient gaps in care by focusing on the delivery of high value services, and co-manage high-risk patients.” 

The Blue Premier program began on Jan. 1, 2019.  More information about this program and the Blue Premier patient population will be made available to practices and providers in the coming months.

Read coverage of the announcement from The News and Observer.

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