This week Blue Cross announced that we acquired a management services organization (MSO). It’s a completely new line of business for Blue Cross, but one that makes perfect sense as we consider the future direction of the health care delivery system, and our role in it. America’s health care system is complex, and it’s not getting any simpler. And as the health care industry rapidly changes, our customers and members are expecting more from us. In fact, we have a responsibility to our nearly 5 million members to see that they get the health care they need. So more than 15 years ago, we launched initiatives in collaboration with providers across the state that improve the quality and reduce the overall cost of care. Under the umbrella of our Value Partnerships programs, these innovative initiatives have transformed the health care environment in Michigan, creating patient-centered processes and best practices that result in high-quality care and outcomes. Of course, we’re not the only health plan to implement efforts to improve health care quality and cost. Physicians are expected to meet various quality metrics and practice standards from a wide range of health plans and organizations. The volume and complexity of data and reporting now required of health care providers also has increased exponentially. But there are companies, such as management services organizations, that offer administrative and clinical support services to physician practices. This helps practices to better meet these increased resource demands, which allows physicians more time to focus on providing patient care. By acquiring a MSO, Blue Cross builds upon our strong provider collaborations and foundational quality initiatives to support our provider partners as they care for our members in a dynamic era of health care change. For example, the MSO offers practice management services, billing and payment services, and care management tools that help practices track and monitor the health of their patients, coordinate care and focus on providing the right care at the right time. We expect these services will make it easier for practices to work with Blue Cross. Working with this MSO is an option for physician practices. They may choose to work with a different MSO, or they may choose not to work with any MSO. For Blue Cross, this acquisition fits into our long history of health care transformation and supports our role as stewards of health care for customers and members. It’s yet another strategy to help make health care work better for everyone. Todd Van Tol is the senior vice president of Health Care Value. Photo credit: Getty Images
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