Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona launches subsidiary it hopes will improve quality of care

When Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona launched Prosano Health Solutions in January for its approximately 1,800 employees, the insurer seems to have liked the results because it now plans to offer Prosano’s provider services to members beginning in January 2024.

Prosano will launch its first Advanced Primary Care Center in three locations in Maricopa County next year. Early data and feedback from the BCBSAZ employees who signed on to the effort found improvements in both cost and quality of care, with high patient satisfaction scores and a reduction in emergency department visits of 20%.

"We’ve been working alongside our community, customers, and healthcare providers on strategies to transform the healthcare experience in Arizona and improve access and affordability. Prosano Health Solutions will enable us to have a stronger role in Arizona’s healthcare system than we do today solely as a health insurance company," Pam Kehaly, BCBCAZ’s president and CEO, said in a press release.

The Advanced Primary Care Center offers a comprehensive care model that includes one-stop access to a primary care team, behavioral health practitioners, lab services, same-day appointments, virtual options and a selection of the most needed prescription medications, BCBSAZ said.

Beth Ginzinger, BCBSAZ’s chief transformation officer and Prosano Health Solutions’ president, called the integration of Prosano into the insurer’s efforts to improve the healthcare experience for patients “just our first step in becoming a health solutions company."

"Next, we will begin to address specific geographic areas in Arizona that require solutions to improve access to care," Gizinger said.

The effort will use clinically driven expertise to help communities around the state better serve patients with what the company described as digitally supported solutions. The aim is to continually create a healthcare experience that customers seek, a healthcare experience that’s more affordable, personal, and convenient.  

In making this move, BCBSAZ joins an effort on the part of many large health plans to implement value-based care programs to mitigate rising healthcare costs. Costs are expected to grow next year alone by 7%, according to a PwC report (PDF).

The report said that “many health plans continued to invest in total cost of care management initiatives such as value-based care that helped maintain year over year trend. National health plans generally demonstrated better cost management and subsequently achieved lower cost trends. As these national plans continue to grow, they will have a deflator effect overall on medical cost trends.”

The PwC report said that health plans will have their hands full with providers wanting significant increases in payment rates as new contracts are negotiated. In April, BCBSAZ and Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center came to a last-minute agreement on a new contract.

Anthony Torres, M.D., president and CEO of Dignity Health YRMC, said in a press release, that the new contract puts patients first and keeps healthcare local.

“Providing local high-quality health care services is a top priority and we look forward to furthering our mission of improving the health of those who call Yavapai County home,” Torres said.