Blue Cross NC expanding its Blue Premier value-based care program to rural providers

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Blue Cross NC is bringing its Blue Premier program to rural providers. (Getty/Creative RF)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is teaming with Caravan Health to bring its Blue Premier program to community and rural providers in the state.

In the partnership, the two companies will establish a joint accountable care organization that will allow the value-based care initiative to reach community and rural hospitals, Blue Cross NC said in an announcement.

Through the new ACO, rural providers will receive assistance with care coordination and chronic care management and will be able to share in the savings achieved through more value-based care, Blue Cross NC said. 

The insurer hopes participating will also help it better weather the financial challenges associated with COVID-19.

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“Extending value-based care through Blue Premier is an important next step in supporting community and rural hospitals, especially as the pandemic has exposed the flaws of fee-for-service,” said Von Nguyen, M.D., who will become Blue Cross NC's chief medical officer on Nov. 1, in a statement.

“Caravan Health will be an essential part of making the benefits of value-based care available to more Blue Cross NC members through access to better, more affordable care," Nguyen added.

Blue Cross NC first launched Blue Premier in January 2019 and has steadily added participants since. Cone Health, Duke University Health System, UNC Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health, WakeMed Health and Hospitals and primary care practices in Aledade accountable care organizations signed on from the beginning, and the program has added Atrium Health, Novant Health and FirstHealth of the Carolinas.

In the program's first year, Blue Cross NC paid out $85 million in incentive payments to providers and generated $153 million in savings.