Cross and Shield Launches Innovative Health Plan in Baton Rouge Market

In the face of rising healthcare costs and increasing chronic illness statewide, HMO Louisiana, Inc., a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, has launched a new model of care in the Baton Rouge market. The product is the first of its kind in Baton Rouge and will be available to small businesses and individuals on Jan 1, 2012.

The product, called Community Blue, offers comprehensive, coordinated, patient-centered care for people in the Baton Rouge market, including East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes. Members have a select network of doctors and providers from within the Blue Cross network to choose from, and in exchange pay lower premiums.

The core of this product is a patient-centered medical home model that makes the doctor-patient bond stronger by replacing fragmented, disjointed and reactive care with care that is accountable, coordinated, collaborative and comprehensive care around  a long-term healing relationship with their personal physician. Each patient is connected with a primary care physician who leads a team with shared medical service duties, providing for the patient’s healthcare needs and working with other medical providers when more support is needed.

“This new model, which focuses on a coordinated system of care, is an exciting development for consumers who will benefit from highly personalized and integrated care,” says HMO Louisiana and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana President and CEO Mike Reitz.

The medical home is meant to result in more personalized and effective healthcare. A medical home achieves these goals through more access to medical providers and services. It adds more communication and engagement between patients and doctors, taking advantage of the latest technology to prescribe, communicate, track test results, get medical support information and monitor performance.

“This new product is the outcome of our efforts to meet the demands of healthcare reform and bring more affordable products to the marketplace for our members,” Reitz says. “As the nation prepares for landmark changes in the U.S. healthcare system, we see the need to improve quality, healthcare payment and delivery. The medical home delivery model effectively does all of this.”

 Dr. Ken Phenow, HMO Louisiana and Blue Cross’ chief medical officer, has valuable experience in the development and operation of patient-centered medical homes. While serving as senior medical director of another health plan, he was involved in establishing the first commercial payer-sponsored medical home in two states.

“The patient-centered medical home is not a ‘cure-all,’ but it is an important part of the solution,” Phenow says. “The bottom line is we’re going to get better health, higher quality and lower cost with increased patient satisfaction. The medical home approach will begin to address many problems in the current system: fragmentation, lack of coordination, quality and affordability — and really improve the patient experience and get us on track toward a more integrated health care system.”

 Baton Rouge General Physicians Chief Medical Officer Ed Jeffries states, “Baton Rouge General Physicians is committed to working collaboratively with Community Blue partners to ensure patient care at the frontline is delivered with exceptional quality and compassion.”

General Health System President and CEO Bill Holman, FACHE, adds that “Baton Rouge General and its affiliated multispecialty physician network, Baton Rouge General Physicians, take great pride in this innovative partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of LA.  Providing care with a commitment to clinical excellence remains our focus, and the Community Blue product offers the people of Louisiana an affordable option for receiving valuable healthcare services during these ever-changing times in our healthcare industry.”    

HMO Louisiana, Inc.
HMO Louisiana is a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, the oldest and largest Louisiana-based health insurance company. Blue Cross is a private, fully taxed mutual company, owned by policyholders—not shareholders—and governed by a local Board of Directors. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

HMO Louisiana and Blue Cross provide group and individual health insurance plans to more than 1.4 million members. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices, the companies employ more than 1,900 Louisianians who are committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is a full-service community hospital, with 544 licensed beds between two campuses. As the first hospital in Baton Rouge, opening its doors in 1900, Baton Rouge General has a long history of groundbreaking milestones, as well as providing the Greater Baton Rouge community with high quality healthcare for generations.

Baton Rouge General is affiliated with and also serves as a satellite campus of Tulane University School of Medicine. In addition to serving as a satellite campus for Tulane medical students in the LEAD (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Discovery) Academy program, Baton Rouge General also offers a Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, Sports Medicine Fellowship Program, School of Nursing and School of Radiologic Technology. Baton Rouge General, an accredited teaching hospital since 1991, is committed to exceptional medical education and serves a diverse population that is representative of the types of patients, injuries, illnesses and healthcare needs most frequently seen by physicians in private practice.

About Baton Rouge General Physicians
Baton Rouge General Physicians consists of more than 80 physicians, owned and operated under General Health System. Baton Rouge General Physicians offers individuals and families throughout the Capital Area top-quality healthcare in convenient locations from Livingston to Brusly. For more information, visit