Anthem Blue Cross teams with 7 hospitals to launch integrated care program

Anthem Blue Cross and seven hospital groups in the highly-competitive Los Angeles market announced today that they'll form a partnership to provide a high-quality, cost-effective care. 

The new venture, which includes UCLA Health and Cedars-Sinai, aims to join the ranks of other integrated health systems, such as Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser's streamlined, integrated care puts an emphasis on prevention, wellness and electronic health records and has allowed the company to provide care that's up to 20 percent below market average costs.

Under the new collaboration, called Anthem Blue Cross Vivity, Anthem will offer large employers less-costly coverage for patients who use hospitals and clinics that are part of the plan.

Of interest, notes the New York Times, hospitals included in the plan are Anthem's competitors--they are not owned by the payer. And the agreements are not exclusive: Hospitals can have arrangements with other insurers.

Vivity aims to jump on board the growing trend of moving away from a traditional fee-for-service payment model to a value-based form of payment, one that financially rewards activities that intend to keep patients healthy, according to the announcement. 

The effort comes during a pivotal time, as the entire healthcare industry seeks innovative ways to reduce rising costs but also boost the quality of care.

Long-term goals of the collaboration include improving efficiency by implementing an electronic medical records system, shared case management systems and joint wellness resources, adds the announcement.

"It is really a brand spanking new thing," Ann Boynton, a benefits executive for the California Public Employees' Retirement System, told the Times. "It's such a completely different way to come at the problem."

For more:
- here's the announcement
- read the NYT piece