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Independence Blue Cross and Temple University Health System announce 18-month contract extension

Extension signifies Temple’s intent to join the Independence Facilitated Health Networks model

Philadelphia  – Independence Blue Cross (Independence) and Temple University Health System (TUHS) have signed an 18-month contract extension. The contract extension signifies TUHS’s intent to be among the first in the region to join the innovative, patient-centric model known as the Independence Facilitated Health Networks (FHN). The Independence FHN model goes beyond the traditional negotiating of new contracts and enhancing existing reimbursement policies. It focuses on transforming how Independence collaborates with health systems and doctors to better coordinate patient care, exchange critical data, and share accountability for both cost and quality of care.

“The contract extension with TUHS displays an important first step in the health system’s willingness to embrace our new non-traditional, collaborative model of care and provides the roadmap for both parties to move towards our new destination,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. “Through the Independence Facilitated Health Networks model, we have sought to build a platform that connects each of us in such a way that we can focus our resources on eliminating inefficiencies and enhancing patient care through active engagement with one another. It’s an important new approach to care as well as a blueprint for how we – insurers, health systems and doctors – need to conduct the business of health care, no matter how the industry transforms.”

Setting the Independence FHN model apart are essentially three things:

  • Engage: Working with health systems and doctors on new business models that emphasize shared accountability for the quality and cost of care being delivered rather than volume. This new way of working together, which will include enhanced, innovative contracting models that are based on agreed upon outcomes and real time data sharing, is focused on enhancing quality while bending the health care cost curve in the Greater Philadelphia region.
  • Enable: The exchange of real-time, robust data enables physicians to make informed decisions on appropriate care. The data exchanged through the Independence FHN model will touch on issues such as specialist and facility utilization and potentially preventable emergency room visits. Combining claims data with electronic clinical records will create a robust platform that can dramatically advance the care of patients. In addition, Independence helped launch HealthShare Exchange, a health information exchange that securely transmits health care data among hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers in the region to improve communication and quality of care.
  • Empower: An ongoing commitment to work closely with health systems and doctors to provide better coordinated patient care. Under the Independence FHN model, a Clinical Care Transformation team works face-to-face with doctors, bringing them tools and reports that help them manage cost efficiencies by showing the comparative cost ranking — low, middle, and high — for frequently performed procedures, while providing them with a holistic view of the population of patients they serve. Independence will also, through this new model, offer health systems and doctors multidisciplinary internal support based on their practice’s need. This includes embedding clinical staff at physicians’ offices to look for opportunities to improve patient care and reduce costs.

“We are proud to be the first academic health system to demonstrate our intent to be a part of the Independence Facilitated Health Networks model and believe it represents a mutual understanding to share vital data and information in new and robust ways to improve the health and health care in our community, while at the same time decreasing the cost of that care,” said Larry R. Kaiser, MD, FACS, president and CEO of TUHS, the Lewis Katz dean at the School of Medicine, and senior executive vice president for Health Affairs at Temple University. “The potential benefits are substantial: more coordinated care, less duplication of care, more informed medical decision-making, and potentially better outcomes for our patients.”

Photo courtesy of Temple University Health System