A Healthy Collaboration: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Announce Joint Pilot Program Th

LEBANON, N.H., Oct. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire (Anthem) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H), the state's largest healthcare provider, have launched a collaborative process focused on increasing value to patients through improved quality outcomes and slowing the rate of health care cost increases, which then will result in reduced premium increases. If successful, the process would lead to the formation of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). An ACO is defined as an organization of health care providers that agrees to be accountable for the quality, cost, and overall care of the health plan members who are assigned to it.

"New Hampshire is fortunate to be at the forefront of a number of innovations in health care," said Douglas J. Wenners, president and general manager at Anthem.  "Dartmouth-Hitchcock is in a unique position because of the broad range and reach of its services, as well as its academic mission and affiliations. Anthem is the largest and most innovative insurer in the country.  Together, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Anthem will work to improve health care delivery and affordability."

An ACO consists of a provider organization (can be a hospital, groups of physicians, or both) that accepts the responsibility for both the cost and the quality of care delivered to a specific population of patients.  This structure and process is meant to bring together the sometimes fragmented health care delivery and reimbursement system and create a model of coordination and shared accountability among hospitals, doctors, and insurance carriers to positively impact a patient's health outcome.

In addition, the program allows Anthem and D-H to collect and analyze data, which enables both organizations to identify and implement efficiencies and improvements to the health care delivery system.

"We view this as another of our steps toward changing the way health care is delivered," said Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health President Thomas A. Colacchio, M.D. "The concept is to bring together the hospital, the physician group practice, and the insurance carrier all with the same goal - to provide high quality, cost-effective care to those we serve."

Both Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Anthem noted that this effort is yet another element of a strong collaboration between the two entities.  The two have collaborated in Anthem's Blue Distinction programs as well as Anthem's Quality Hospital Incentive Program (Q-HIP).  This year, the two began work on a nationally recognized program to treat low back pain.  Additionally, each is an active participant in New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative, which has championed the ACO movement.

"We believe we have a unique opportunity to use our size, scope, and experience to bring about substantive improvements that will benefit not only our members, but the health of our state as a whole," noted Richard Lafleur, M.D., medical director at Anthem. Dr. Lafleur, who in addition to serving as Anthem's medical director, maintains a primary care practice in Derry.  He added that Anthem is continually seeking to partner with key stakeholders like D-H across the state to achieve better health outcomes.

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in evidence-based and patient-centered health care. The system includes hundreds of physicians, specialists, and other providers who work together at different locations to meet the health care needs of patients in northern New England. In addition to primary care services at local community practices, Dartmouth-Hitchcock patients have access to specialists in almost every area of medicine, as well as world-class research at Dartmouth Medical School and centers such as the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice (TDI).

About Anthem

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of New Hampshire, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.   Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire is available at www.anthem.com.

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire