Independence Blue Cross and Jefferson Health Commit to Building a Healthier Philadelphia and Bringing Care Closer to Home Through Innovation
Organizations sign new agreement focused on lowering cost of care and improving health of members, patients, and community-at-large through Independence Facilitated Health Networks model
PHILADELPHIA — Independence Blue Cross (Independence) and Jefferson Health, two organizations that already work hand-in-hand on an Innovation Collaboration program, have signed a five-year agreement that will marshal resources from both organizations to transform the access, quality, experience and cost of the care members and patients receive. The agreement also signifies Jefferson Health officially joining the Independence Facilitated Health Networks (FHN) model — a collaborative approach that is gaining regional and national traction for bringing health insurers and health systems together to improve the quality and lower the costs of care for members and patients. Jefferson Health has expanded in recent years to include Abington Health, Aria Health, and has signed a definitive agreement with Kennedy Health, creating a broad provider network blanketing the Greater Philadelphia area.
“We are proud to have a new, long-term agreement with Jefferson Health, an institution that shares our drive to transform health care in this region and across the country,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, president and CEO at Independence. “The agreement reflects a strong, innovative partnership and demonstrates the bold leadership that has made Jefferson a national leader in delivering improved patient care and health outcomes.”
The agreement and Jefferson Health’s participation in the Independence FHN model commits the organizations to work together to provide well-coordinated team-based care. The kind of care that will improve access for Independence members and Jefferson Health patients through innovative technology that monitors progress and allows patients to interact with a caring team of professionals regardless of whether the patient is at home, in the hospital or another setting such as JeffConnect® — the largest specialty telehealth initiative in the region. This approach is aimed at improving clinical outcomes, preventing the need for avoidable readmissions and reducing care costs.
The two organizations also have the opportunity to expand on the Innovation Collaboration they established together in June 2015, whose initiatives — like the Independence-Jefferson hack-a-thons — have already yielded implementable ideas using augmented intelligence, predictive data analytics, virtual reality, and drone technology. Each of these efforts has the same end goal of improving the health of members, patients, and the community-at-large.
“We have a unique opportunity in this new, expanded relationship with Independence to achieve our vision of reimagining health care, education and discovery to create value and improve lives. Jefferson is committed to bringing tomorrow’s health care to Philadelphia today and we have an innovative partner in Independence,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. “We will leverage Jefferson Health’s unique strengths, such as our unique partnership with GE, our expanding telehealth program and our best-in-class physicians, nurses and employees to enhance patient and member access to better health care.”
Building on the Innovation Collaboration, the two organizations are now in talks to design initiatives for a healthier Philadelphia including:
- Enhanced and more broadly implemented telehealth and virtual care services, bringing Jefferson care closer to home. This includes a number of initiatives like JeffConnect® virtual triage, which will guide patients to the best setting for unscheduled care, and virtual rounds that allow family members to communicate directly with the patient and providers in the hospital. Teams are also exploring a “hospital without beds” that allows doctors and health systems to care for patients remotely round-the-clock while also reducing the cost of care. These initiatives are supplemented with diagnostic services that connect patients with Jefferson Health doctors — anytime, anywhere — through their cell phone, tablet or computer with a webcam.
- An agreement to assess integrative medicine to help combat specific health issues. This will involve Independence working with Jefferson’s Marcus Institute of Integrative Health on issues like behavioral health and pain management to support and treat patients battling opioid addiction.
- Disease management programs to address common, costly, yet manageable health issues. This includes a digital diabetes management program with Jefferson Health and other health partners to create new, cost-effective ways of addressing the disease which can drastically affect health and quality of life.
- Comprehensive programs to address health disparities among cancer patients. Independence and Jefferson Health will explore leveraging the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center's expertise to address cancer disparities in Philadelphia and beyond, through building on the Center's Men's Genetic Risk Clinic and using genetics to match the right patient to the right therapy for addition cancer diagnoses.
The agreement, effective September 1, 2017, will include the following facilities and physician practice groups recognized for excellence in patient care:
- Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (TJUH) and TJUH’s Methodist Hospital
- Abington Hospital and Abington – Lansdale Hospital
- Jefferson University Physicians
- Jefferson Urgent Care
- Jefferson University Radiology Associates
- Abington Health Physicians
- Aria Health
- Aria Health Physicians