By Leslie Small
As primary care can have a large impact on the quality and cost of care delivered, some health insurers are investing in improving how it’s delivered by integrating key services such as behavioral health treatment and health coaching.
For Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and Nevada-based Prominence Health Plan, that’s meant partnering with a company called Vera Whole Health to launch primary care centers for their members.
“We looked in the mirror and knew that we needed to change to bring our constituents the experience and the value that we wanted to bring to the market,” says Dave Olson, vice president of business development at Blue KC. “Then it was looking at where can we have the biggest impact outside of our current swim lane, and entering primary care and having a bundled insurance product offering with care delivery made a lot of sense.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, meanwhile, unveiled an initiative with health care technology firm Quartet that aims to better identify patients with underlying behavioral health conditions and help primary care practices connect them to treatment.
“We recognize that of the one in five North Carolinians who have a behavioral health disorder, the estimates are that less than 50% receive care,” says Katherine Hobbs Knutson, M.D., chief of behavioral health at the Blues plan. Quartet will also assess the North Carolina Blues plan’s network to identify and help fill potential behavioral health provider gaps, she says.