Blue Cross Helps Primary Care Practices Survive Pandemic

Amy Barczy

| 2 min read

Amy Barczy is a brand journalist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and writes for AHealthierMichigan.org and MIBluesPerspectives.com. Prior to joining Blue Cross, she was a statewide news reporter for MLive.com. She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.

Doctor wearing a mask examining a patient
Primary care practices weren’t immune from the layoffs, furloughs, cash flow problems and high stress that many businesses experienced during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet some practices were able to navigate the early months better than others – and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan played a significant role in their success. Blue Cross’ efforts to support primary care doctors were highlighted on the national stage in a July webinar hosted by the Primary Care Collaborative. The Primary Care Collaborative is a not-for-profit organization representing a broad group of public and private organizations that seek to promote policies and share best practices for primary care. Dr. Karolina Skrzypek, medical director in provider engagement at Blue Cross, presented the organization’s strategy for helping providers weather the storm of the pandemic. Using existing provider relationships through the Physicians Group Incentive Program and Collaborative Quality Initiatives, Blue Cross hosted weekly meetings between the state health department, representatives of private labs, Blue Cross executives and leaders within the Michigan provider community to quickly disseminate information in the early months of the pandemic. Additionally, Blue Cross accelerated planned incentive payments to physicians to give those practices the flexibility to invest the money as needed – whether it be for personal protective equipment (PPE) or to pay staff. One of the partner organizations in Michigan was MedNetOne Health Solutions, a group that services 900 self-employed physicians and other healthcare professionals. Thanks to the early funding from Blue Cross, the network was able to quickly expand its support of these small primary care practice doctors. The network constantly surveyed each of the practices to help connect them with PPE supplies; provide support for telehealth services including billing; and helped produce a COVID training video and Physician Playbook for their staff to use. Without the coordination from MedNetOne Health Solutions made possible by Blue Cross funding, these small practices would have been on their own in the middle of a crisis. More from MIBluesPerspectives.com:
Photo credit: Portra

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