New Partnership Focused on Primary Care Aims to Improve Patient Outcomes and Contain Costs
Independence Blue Cross (Independence) and Penn Medicine today announce a plan to deepen their longstanding collaborations to transform healthcare in the Philadelphia region. The centerpiece of this expanding relationship is Independence’s sale of a minority equity stake in its subsidiary, Tandigm Health, to Penn Medicine, which will allow more patients to continue seeing their trusted primary care providers close to home while offering new, innovative pathways to Penn Medicine’s specialty care and other services. Together, the organizations will join forces in new ways to improve patient outcomes and drive more cost-efficient care, while also increasing provider satisfaction.
The agreement, which officially launches on January 1, 2023, also contains a long-term commitment from Penn Medicine to work with Tandigm for all primary care value-based programs across all payors. This collaboration will bring more doctors and patients into a Tandigm value-based arrangement, and the existing Tandigm physician network will benefit from Penn Medicine services and access being made available through this collaboration. Penn Medicine will also have representation on the Tandigm Board of Directors.
The value-based care methodology, often associated with the growing Medicare Advantage movement, rewards U.S. healthcare providers that most effectively improve quality and control cost both to individual consumers and group purchasers, including governmental agencies, while simultaneously rewarding those whose services are rated most highly by consumers themselves.
Tandigm, founded in 2014, has delivered consistently strong results through its value-based care model. Tandigm serves the five-county Philadelphia region, supporting a network of 400 primary care doctors who are affiliated with regional community hospitals such as Chester County Hospital, Doylestown Hospital, Grand View Health, and Redeemer Health. The company contracts with payors such as Independence, Humana, and the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“In an increasingly complex health care environment where patients have choices about where to get care, we have to provide equitable access to the right care at the right place – which is often close to home,” said Kevin Mahoney, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “Tandigm has built the tools and expertise to enable that. Working with Tandigm’s network of primary care physicians and with local community hospitals, we can ensure that patients get access to the range of services that best meet their needs in the most convenient location. As the healthcare industry changes, partnerships like this are helping us to create the future – and stability – that both our patients and the healthcare providers who serve our community deserve.”
Independence and Penn Medicine have collaborated extensively to accelerate the adoption of value-based care. In 2017, they launched an innovative program that reduced dramatically the number of avoidable readmissions to Penn Medicine hospitals after treatment and discharge.
“We are excited to move to the next generation of value-based care, expanding member access to the benefits of population health management and ensuring that they can access quality care where and when they need it. This means connecting every aspect of the healthcare system, from the primary care physician to the hospital and all the other critical care settings, including the home,” said Gregory E. Deavens, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross.
This more integrated, regional approach to value-based care is a first for Philadelphia and goes beyond other models seen elsewhere across the country.
Today, Tandigm’s call center nurses work closely with primary care offices, using advanced technology to ensure that patients’ care is coordinated and includes access to the best care in the most appropriate location. For example, Tandigm patients in Bucks County needing advanced oncology services have been referred to a Penn Medicine specialist operating at Grand View Hospital.
“Tandigm is honored to earn the trust of Independence, Penn Medicine, and the Tandigm network of outstanding physicians,” said Frank Ingari, CEO of Tandigm. “Our company is laser-focused on a clinical approach called population health management, which helps doctors anticipate the needs of their patients and help them take prompt action to prevent or better manage chronic diseases like diabetes.”
This approach to care has earned Tandigm providers 5 Stars in benchmark measures for Medicare Advantage, reduced unnecessary hospital admissions by thousands, and reduced the days needed for care in skilled nursing facilities by over 30%.
Moving forward in the new arrangement, Tandigm primary care providers may be able to expand their impact through facilitated access to Penn Medicine resources such as specialty care, advanced home care services, and virtual off-hours coverage for patients in need outside of office hours.