Susquehanna Health has joined forces with Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania to provide a program for bringing healthier populations, improving patient experiences and reducing health care costs.
The Patient Centered Medical Home pilot program, officials say, will meet goals by ensuring patients receive care that meets national quality measures in such areas as childhood immunizations, cancer screenings, diabetes testing and cholesterol management.
"We are giving them tools they didn't have before," said Dr. Nina Taggart, chief medical officer and vice president of clinical operations for Blue Cross, a Wilkes-Barre based insurance provider.
Susquehanna Health and Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania are collaborating on a Patient Centered Medical Home pilot program. Dr. Nina Taggart, second from left, chief medical officer and vice president of clinical operations for Blue Cross, explains the program. On her left is Stuart Gitomer, senior director for health care informatics, Blue Cross. On her right is Dr. David J. Lopatofsky, chief medical officer and associate vice president at Susquehanna Health.
Blue Cross care coordinators will support Susquehanna Health Medical Group's primary care physicians to make necessary office and technology improvements
Taggart called the care coordinators, who will work with Susquehanna's approximately 45,000 patients regardless of insurance coverage, a key part of the health care process.
"They will be right in the physician offices working with patients every day to make sure they are getting the right care at the right time for the best outcomes," she said.
Staff from Blue Cross and Susquehanna will have access to the same tools and reports to allow for more streamlined and effective overall care and management of patients, according to officials.
"It's more of a team approach," said Stuart Gitomer, senior director for health care informatics at Blue Cross.
Susquehanna Health Medical Group President Dr. William McCauley noted that patients have an ongoing relationship with a physician who leads a team of healthcare professionals accountable for all their needs.
"Our collaboration and effort with Blue Cross is to give resources and support to make sure it helps all patients," said Krysta Wagner, Susquehanna Health Medical Group administrator.
She called it refocusing on management of patients.
The program, launched Nov. 1 and to continue through 2015, is expected to produce best practices.
Dr. David J. Lopatofsky, Susquehanna Health's chief medical officer and associate vice president, said the pilot program takes a more pro-active approach to patient needs.
"Traditionally, medicine has been reactive," he said.
It's all about early intervention, added Margie Andrews, a registered nurse and manager of Health Management at Blue Cross.
"Now, the insurance carrier can provide the total picture," she said. "It takes away the fear of the unknown."
The program will also provide wellness coaching.
"It really is a cutting edge approach," Lopatofsky said. "It's patient centered."