Premier Health and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are collaborating to bring value-based health care to southwestern Ohio. The joint effort centers on providing health care professionals with enhanced data and analytics to better coordinate patient care, focus on preventive care, manage chronic disease and lower costs, according to the companies. The arrangement includes members of Anthem’s employer-based, individual and Medicare Advantage health plans. Anthem is the state’s largest commercial insurer, and Premier Health is the largest health system in the southwestern region of Ohio. In separate news, Anthem announced that it is exiting Ohio’s ACA marketplace, citing volatility stemming from regulatory uncertainty as a factor in the decision. Unless another insurer fills the void, 20 rural Ohio counties will have no exchange options in 2018. 

Hackensack Meridian Health is working with IBM Watson Health and Cota Healthcare to develop new oncology decision support technology. The objective is to improve cancer treatments and reduce patient costs. Oncologists at Hackensack Meridian will use outcomes data provided by Cota to establish benchmark data and embed patient classification into Watson for Oncology, Becker’s Hospital Review explained. Then, Watson for Oncology will be used to “contextualize” treatment planning and identify and rank treatment options. The second phase of the pilot program will feature evidence-based treatment recommendations and care paths, along with payment assignments.  

Scripps Health and Qualcomm Inc. established a strategic alliance to offer custom health plans to Qualcomm’s San Diego-based employees and eligible dependents next year. Qualcomm is the first employer in San Diego to contract with Scripps ACO on this type of offering. Qualcomm stated in a news release that the custom plan options would focus on quality of care, enhanced electronic scheduling and messaging with health professionals, “concierge-level” navigation, scheduling and billing support, minimal wait times for physician appointments and published prices for frequently used services.

CVS Health and Cigna launched a personalized health and wellness program for members of Cigna’s self-funded employer-sponsored health plans. Cigna Health Works is designed to help members get the most from their health benefits at local CVS pharmacies. Features of the program include personalized pharmacy support, contracted discounts at CVS MinuteClinics for select preventive and acute care services, and a CVS ExtraCare Health card that provides a 20 percent discount on CVS Health brand over-the-counter health-related products. The program will also send electronic documentation of members’ CVS MinuteClinic visits to physicians and give members who lack a primary care physician a list of in-network providers.

 Fewer than half of physicians now own their own practice, according to a survey by the American Medical Association. In 2016, just 47.1 percent of physicians who responded to the biennial survey reported holding equity in their practice, compared with 50.8 percent in 2014 and 53.2 percent in 2012. In 1983, more than three-quarters of physicians surveyed held equity in their practice. The latest survey report also noted that hospital acquisitions of physician practices and direct employment of physicians by hospitals “appears to have stalled after 2014.”

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