Blue Cross NC initiative to reduce weight for independent physicians

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina are investing in a new company designed to help independent physicians grow and strengthen their practices.

Blue Cross NC has partnered with investment firm Deerfield Management Company in the joint venture, which will offer management infrastructure, technology support and market information. Independent physicians may either allow Blue Cross NC to acquire the nonclinical assets of its practice, or they may use the joint venture as a vendor to provide contracted services to manage the nonclinical operations of their practice.

“One [goal] it allows these practices to remain independent and empowering and provides the support they need to continue this journey, “said Adam Grossman, a fellow at Deerfield Management.” The second big thing is to help long-term thinkers interested in the transition to value-based care. ”

While the number of hospital-owned medical practices is growing across the country, some doctors are leaving established health systems to form or join groups of independent physicians. In 2019, dozens of North Carolina-based doctors left Atrium Health and Novant Health to gain autonomy in terms of salary and contract conditions.

For independent physicians, this joint venture could alleviate the difficulty of managing their small practice in today’s healthcare environment, said Richard Scheffler, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley in the graduate school of Health Economics. and Public Policies.

“State and federal regulations are hugely difficult to follow and doctors don’t just have the time, funding or training to do that,” Schleffer said.

Providers can focus on patient service instead of ensuring that bills are paid on time and managing risks, building financial reserves and coordinating care, said Dr. Von Nguyen, chief medical officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Any resources offered to help alleviate the commercial, administrative and regulatory burdens that doctors face are welcome, said Dr. Susan Bailey, immediate president of the AMA. “Physicians in private practice appreciate all kinds of services and supports that allow us to focus more on the treatment of our patients rather than managing the growing complexity of medical practice,” he said.

Bailey, an independent physician herself, said she hopes agreements like the one Blue Cross NC proposes will allow doctors to remain independent without strings attached.

The company did not provide information on the cost of the services provided.

Maintaining an active patient base, dealing with competition and negotiating contracts with health insurers are all important areas that private practices need help with, he said.

“This is an alarm clock,” Scheffler said. “Medical practices are getting bigger and bigger, the groups in the medical groups are getting bigger and bigger. The scale is important, and the economy has never been as important as it is today for the future private practice of medicine.”

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