BCBSNC, UNC hope patient-centered practice reduces costs

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the UNC Health Care System are developing a new type of medical practice that enables providers to work collaboratively with patients in delivering high quality, coordinated care that reduces costs. It likely will open later this year.

The partnership was driven partly by the federal health overhaul's incentives to encourage the medical industry to try new ways to cut costs and improve care, reports the Fay Observer. "The climate is calling for change and innovation," BCBSNC CEO Brad Wilson told the News & Observer.

"We believe this approach will result in improved health and fewer complications--both of which will help control rising healthcare costs," Wilson said in a statement.

The new practice will provide primary care for about 5,000 Blue Cross members with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and major depression. It also will offer mental health, home monitoring and nutrition services. The facility will not have hospital or surgery beds and isn't expected to require state regulatory approval, the News & Observer reports.

BCBSNC said the practice is the first product of what it and UNC Health Care expect will be an ongoing collaboration to enhance healthcare quality, improve efficiency and effectiveness, and reduce healthcare costs, according to the Wilmington Star News.

The two organizations will split costs. "The goal is for Blue Cross to save money, and we profit at the same time," said UNC Health CEO Bill Roper, notes the News & Observer.

To learn more:
- read the News & Observer article
- check out the Fay Observer story
- see the Wilmington Star News piece
- read the BCBSNC press release

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