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Meaningful partnerships, lifesaving care: 85 years of working to improve health care access and quality

By October 11, 2023October 16th, 202385th Anniversary Featured Innovation

Independence Blue Cross began in 1938 as the Associated Hospital Service of Philadelphia and offered the first prepaid hospitalization plan in the region, founded by E.A. van Steenwyk.

Providing health care coverage for people in the communities we serve throughout the region is not only an important responsibility, it’s a privilege. One that we are proud to have been fulfilling for 85 years.

We’ve built meaningful relationships with health care organizations and institutions in our region. These relationships help us achieve our mission of giving members access to the care they need when it matters most.

“We have been a leader in shaping the region’s health care ecosystem for 85 years. Our commitment to keep the Philadelphia region healthy and provide our members with access to equitable, whole-person care stands strong today and will continue for years to come,” said Independence Blue Cross Executive Vice President of Facilitated Health Networks, Dr. Richard L. Snyder.

Throughout our history, we have worked with health care organizations that share our mission. Let’s look back at some important milestones in our recent history:

  • 2006 – Rolled out the Blue Distinction Center designation, which helps members locate our provider partner’s care facilities that have extensive experience, meet rigorous quality standards, and consistently demonstrate positive results.
  • 2002 – Funded the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF), an organization that works with health systems to find solutions to complex health care challenges. Through HCIF, Independence supported the Regional Medication Safety Program and the Partnership for Patient Care.
  • 2007 – Worked with providers in the region to convene the Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance (PHCQA). This group was at the forefront of publicly reporting transparent, objective quality of care information for all Pennsylvania hospitals. PHCQA operated until 2019.
  • 2007-2013 – Co-chaired the Pennsylvania Chronic Care Commission, which was created to help improve how Pennsylvanians with chronic disease receive health care. The statewide Patient Centered Medical Home initiative was launched here in Philadelphia through the Pennsylvania Chronic Care Commission.
  • 2013 – Worked with regional providers and payers to help launch HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania, which is one of the most robust health information exchanges in the country.
  • 2014 – Founded Tandigm Health, a subsidiary of Independence, to support primary care physicians in southeastern Pennsylvania. Tandigm provides doctors with additional tools, data, and support so they can provide higher quality, more coordinated care. Tandigm’s capabilities were extended in 2022 thanks to an investment from Penn Medicine.
  • 2018 – Helped cut hospital readmission rates at the University of Pennsylvania Health System by more than 25 percent through an innovative provider contract that served as a model for all hospital contracts.
  • 2018 – Enhanced senior care in Philadelphia by bringing Dedicated Senior Medical Centers, a new model of care for seniors, to the area.
  • 2020 – Participated in a coalition to transform Mercy Catholic Medical Center to better serve the West Philadelphia community.
  • 2021 – Formed a strategic partnership with Quartet Health to help make it easier and quicker for people to get mental health and substance use care that fits their needs.
  • 2021 – Opened a COVID-19 vaccination site at Independence LIVE to help the City of Philadelphia inoculate more eligible people in an efficient and equitable way.
  • 2022 – Awarded inaugural Clinical Care Innovation Grants to health systems in the region to support projects aimed at improving the quality and delivery of health care. These grants are intended to foster new, innovative approaches to care delivery. To date, Independence has awarded 17 grants valued at more than $3 million to five health systems and large specialty groups.
  • 2022 – Launched Accelerate Health Equity, a collaborative effort of regional healthcare organizations to address the many causes of disparate health outcomes.
  • 2023 – Convened the Regional Coalition to Eliminate Race-Based Medicine with health systems in the region. Together, the group will work to remove race “adjustments” from 15 commonly used clinical decision support tools that may adversely impact patients’ outcomes.