Regardless of where they stand on health care reform, most employers don’t expect health care legislation to lower costs in the near future. That leaves businesses looking for ways to get more value for their health care dollar and move costs toward more sustainable levels. Employees want more time with healthcare providers and help navigating a complex health care system. Physicians and hospitals want public and private payers to coordinate efforts on quality and health information technology.
Enter “First in Health,” a public-private partnership that will enable private-sector employers to tap into a medical home infrastructure created for Medicaid recipients by a nonprofit organization on behalf of the State of North Carolina in the last ten years. Medical home is an approach to coordinating healthcare that relies on a patient’s primary care physician to use health information technology, best practices and care managers to coordinate care among a patient’s various healthcare providers.
Partners in the First in Health effort include Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the State Health Plan of North Carolina (SHP), local pharmacy chain KERR DRUG, business analytics company SAS and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), the state’s largest health insurer. They are joining forces to promote medical homes, change the way care is delivered and demonstrate that increasing the focus on managing chronic diseases, which account for 75 percent of the nation’s healthcare spending, can improve outcomes and hold down costs. The partnership, which is unprecedented in size and scope given CCNC’s network, was announced today at the annual meeting of the N.C. Institute of Medicine.