Can the health system make itself better?
Treating trauma and avoidable health conditions are some of the most expensive ways to manage health—and they don’t start until someone is already suffering.
Research shows that high-quality primary care leads to significantly better patient health and lower costs.1 How? It helps patients keep health issues in check before they become serious and costly and helps prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.2 But what does high-quality primary care entail? Certainly, an established, trusting relationship with a primary health care provider is vital. But excellent primary care goes a step further—many steps, in fact.
At Blue Cross NC, we are taking a multifaceted approach to make primary care the cornerstone of care.
Building a strong primary care foundation as part of our signature statewide program, Blue Premier.
One of the tenets of Blue Premier, our program for transformative, value-based care, is to make all primary care providers the hub of patient care. This includes supporting independent primary care physician practices that don’t have the same resources as practices owned by health systems. That’s why Blue Cross NC has joined forces with Aledade. Blue Cross NC and Aledade will work together to provide more resources, actionable information and best practice guidelines with independent primary care providers to help them better manage care while improving their patients’ overall health.
Collaborating with national leaders in delivering intensive primary care for members with multiple health issues. Intensive primary care practices will feature team-based care and a dramatically lower number of patients for each physician.
More time during appointments to go over health goals, coaching and resources
Support from an entire care team, including behavioral health specialists, health coaches and nutritionists
Integration of services such as behavioral health, telehealth, transportation, home visits and palliative care
Support for finding the highest-quality specialists when specialty care is required
Incorporating behavioral and mental health into primary care. Many Blue Cross NC customers are already receiving excellent primary care, but getting access to mental and behavioral health resources can be more difficult. Studies show that overall health outcomes improve when patients are able to better manage their depression, anxiety and other behavioral health disorders. To help bridge this gap, we’re developing a model that integrates behavioral health treatment within the primary care setting. As Dr. Kate Hobbs-Knutson, Blue Cross NC Lead Behavioral Health Medical Director, explains, “Most people have a long-standing relationship with their primary care provider. Having behavioral health delivered in that setting where they feel the most comfortable increases the likelihood that they will actually access care.”
Investing in the next generation of primary care teams. We’re supporting organizations that train the next generation of health care providers, like the UNC Physician Assistant Studies program, and increasing access to primary care where it’s needed most.