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Press Release

IBC Medical Expert Showcases Results of PA Medical Home Initiative at Notable Health Forum

Collaboration and communications essential ingredients to a successful medical home

Philadelphia, PA - November 8, 2010 - As the region's largest health plan, Independence Blue Cross has led the successful launch of one of the nation's largest pilots for Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), a new model of care that revolutionizes the way primary care physicians practice medicine.

As the three-year pilot nears its close, IBC Senior Medical Director, Don Liss, M.D. will share the company's learnings, experiences, and successes today when he presents to health care executives and industry professionals attending a national conference in New York City on medical homes organized by Corporate Research Group.

The Medical Home concept combines increasing payments for physicians with more patient-focused care management programs and other innovative concepts to help physicians cope with the ever-increasing complexity of medical practice and change the way they currently practice medicine.  Dr. Liss represents IBC in Pennsylvania's Chronic Care Commission, a multi-stakeholder effort convened in 2007 by Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell and the Office of Health Care Reform to promote improvements in the delivery of primary care, especially for people with chronic conditions. IBC is the largest health insurer participating in what is the largest initiative in the country.

At today's conference, Dr. Liss will highlight what he sees as the essential ingredients to building a successful medical home: collaboration and communications.

"We're convinced that better organized and coordinated primary care means better quality and health outcomes for patients and less wasteful spending, said Dr. Liss. "We have leveraged our experience in this effort to go beyond the pilot, helping each of our primary care practices in our participating network make a commitment to delivering better care."

At the forum, Dr. Liss and other experts involved in similar initiatives across the country will discuss their practical experiences in promoting the concept of the medical home. The speakers will address key elements for developing a successful program such as:

  • establishing structures to allow practices, government entities, advocacy organizations, academic medical centers and multiple payers to collaborate;
  • creating viable financial models that align incentives for improving care in a community;
  • appreciating the physician perspective of what it takes to transform a practice into a medical home, and;
  • supporting the transformation of primary care practice in an era of health care reform.

In addition, Dr. Liss will present some of the achievements of the Chronic Care Commission's southeast Pennsylvania medical home pilot: notable improvements in compliance with important evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of diabetes and asthma. From 2008 to 2010, the pilot has achieved the following results for three significant health measures in diabetics:

  • Patients with A1C great than 9: Decreased from 33 percent to 27 percent to 24 percent;
  • Patients with LDL less than 130:  Increased 36 percent to 62 percent to 69 percent;
  • Patients with blood pressure lower than 140: increased from 57 percent to 69 percent to 75 percent.

How the southeast Pennsylvania Chronic Care Commission works

The collaborative includes 32 primary care practices, each serving as a medical home, employing more than 150 doctors who are responsible for 220,000 patients. All 32 practices have achieved recognition as a Patient Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality, which has determined various levels of achievement the practices must meet to earn additional reimbursement by the participating health plans.

The participating practices are provided a number of resources, tools, and education to help them as they transform their practice into a medical home, including collaboration sessions with their peers and a faculty of quality improvement experts. The medical home model is based on a set of principles established by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association.

To learn more about this project and other medical home demonstration projects, please visit the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

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