Long Island-Based Beacon IPA Inks Deal with Empire BlueCross BlueShield

MANHASSET, N.Y., May 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Beacon IPA, a young and rapidly-growing physician network consisting of almost 200 healthcare practitioners, has proudly announced a three-year agreement with Empire BlueCross BlueShield. The new contract brings together two premier organizations, committed to finding new ways to enhance the overall quality, efficiency and safety of clinical care at reduced costs.

"We anticipate major changes driven by new healthcare reform at both the State and Federal levels," said John Caby, VP, Provider Engagement & Contracting, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. "We believe there are great opportunities for collaboration between payors and physicians in the interest of better aligning payment with value, reducing fragmentation and placing greater emphasis on wellness and prevention."

As Empire continues to amp up its focus on quality-based reimbursement, this collaboration will serve as a long-term strategy to curb rising healthcare costs and improve the patient experience. Beacon's sound leadership, clearly-defined performance standards, and management strategies, were some of the factors that encouraged Empire to join efforts with the young network.

"In today's environment, accountability is absolutely critical for success," said Nephrologist Dr. Simon Prince, President and CEO of Beacon IPA. "Beacon IPA physicians are working together to produce regular performance reports, determine specific quality and safety benchmarks, and identify potential issues in patient care.  We are convinced that our relationship with New York's leading insurance company will not only benefit the payor and all our member physicians, but will also pave the way for better, safer and more affordable care. Therefore, I look forward to working with Empire BlueCross BlueShield in support of this goal."

At a time when millions of people are struggling to make sense of the intricate healthcare system, Beacon IPA has created a solid infrastructure for improved clinical care and doctor/patient communications. Patients stand to benefit significantly from instant medical attention, streamlined communications with their providers, and improved follow up system, while avoiding unnecessary testing procedures or frequent visits to the emergency room. For people suffering from chronic conditions, Beacon IPA physicians will focus on helping their patients make more informed decisions and more effectively manage their illness.

"As we move towards becoming a clinically-integrated IPA, we are intent on leveraging the latest technology and helping all our physician members implement electronic medical records in their offices," added Dr. Prince. "It will invariably facilitate the communication process between our doctors and reduce medical errors that are prevalent in the medical field."

Since its inception in July of 2010, Beacon IPA has established itself as a cohesive and patient-centered independent practice association, comprised of primary care practitioners and specialists. As economic pressures continue to rise, Beacon IPA is countering a growing trend towards consolidation in the healthcare market.

"We've been closely watching other states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, that have been deeply affected by the changing landscape of healthcare reform," said Mr. Caby. "We are anticipating what may be coming down the pike in the near future. Our agreement with Beacon IPA is a way to improve the health status of our communities and help reduce the avoidable expenses that continue to increase the cost of health care."

About BIPA

Beacon IPA is a grass roots physician-owned and -governed organization founded in 2010 which looks to become a recognized leader in implementing comprehensive care management programs, pay-for-performance and provider reimbursement models tied to quality measures and patient outcomes. Beacon IPA is committed to becoming a clinically integrated physician network that enhances the viability and sustainability of independent private practice physicians in the New York metropolitan area. For more information about Beacon IPA, visit www.beaconipa.com.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Serving New Yorkers for over 75 years, Empire BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurer in New York supporting nearly six million members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New York. Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinInEmpire, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.

SOURCE Empire BlueCross BlueShield