DURHAM, N.C. AND KANSAS CITY, MO. - OCTOBER 29, 2020 - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and Caravan Health are working together to support the expansion of Blue Premier, Blue Cross NC's value-based care program, to more areas of the state. The two companies will establish a new accountable care organization (ACO) that will work with community and rural hospitals to bring the benefits of value-based care to their communities.
The ACO will enable more North Carolina health systems to collaborate with Blue Cross NC and Caravan to provide high-quality, cost-effective care as part of Blue Premier. Under Blue Premier, participating providers and Blue Cross NC are jointly accountable for meeting quality and cost measures. The ACO will bring the benefits of value-based care for patients – including improved quality and better-coordinated care – to North Carolinians who don't live near a hospital already in Blue Premier.
Hospitals and doctors in rural areas already play a significant role in improving health and coordinating care for their patients. The new ACO will help providers better manage and treat chronic conditions, share in the cost savings through value-based care, and move to a more sustainable financial model than traditional fee-for-service health care – potentially even helping them stay in business following the financial distress caused by 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, MD, Blue Cross NC chief medical officer effective Nov. 1, 2020. "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."
"We're excited to team up with community health systems in North Carolina to provide robust primary care and comprehensive accountability for their patients," said Tim Gronniger, Caravan Health CEO and president. "The opportunity to align efforts across multiple lines of business dramatically reduces the cost of change for providers, and I thank the team at Blue Cross NC for their foresight in how they've designed Blue Premier. Our team is digging in and looking forward to working side-by-side with providers in North Carolina."
Improving Rural Health
Community and rural providers have seen challenges in adopting value-based care. The smaller population and gaps in technology can make it difficult to achieve the scale needed to show quality improvements and cost reductions. In North Carolina, with an estimated 28 percent of the state's population living in areas deemed rural by the U.S. Census Bureau, many residents face shortages of medical providers in their communities. About 26 percent of the providers in Blue Cross NC's network are in rural areas.