Oct. 24, 2011

Cross and Shield Launches Innovative Health Plan in New Orleans Market with Ochsner Health Plan

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, and Ochsner Health System have joined forces to introduce a new model of care for the healthcare industry in Louisiana.

The two have worked together to create coverage plans that offer coordinated, patient-centered care for people in the greater New Orleans area. The core of these plans is a patient-centered medical home model that makes the doctor-patient bond stronger by replacing spotty, disjointed and reactive care with coordinated care and a long-term healing relationship. 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 a 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 watch performance.

“This new product, and the relationship we have created with Ochsner Health System to deliver it, 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.”

"We believe the BlueConnect product will be attractive to business and provide excellent clinical outcomes at an affordable cost for their employees," says President and COO of Ochsner Health System Warner Thomas. "As a part of this product, we are excited to offer access to the largest integrated delivery system in the region and the strength of our Ochsner clinic and community physician partners."

The new coverage plans, marketed under the name BlueConnect, will be available to small businesses and individuals Jan. 1, 2012.

Dr. Ken Phenow, HMO of Louisiana and Blue Cross chief medical officer, has valuable experience in the development and operation of medical homes. While serving as senior medical director of CIGNA HealthCare of Texas and Oklahoma, he was involved in establishing the first commercial payer-sponsored medical home in Texas, consisting of a group of 45 practices.

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

About the Partners

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.

Blue Cross and HMO Louisiana provide group and individual health insurance plans to more than 1.3 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.

Learn more on the company’s website at www.bcbsla.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bluecrossla. Follow Blue Cross on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCBSLA and CEO Mike Reitz at www.twitter.com/MikeReitzCEO 

Ochsner Clinic Foundation
Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and over 38 health centers in Louisiana. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 15 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a “Best Hospital” across seven specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 12,500 employees and over 850 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment.

At Ochsner, close collaboration between clinicians and scientists brings medical discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside. Ochsner is a national leader in medical research with more than 300 ongoing research trials and 200 annual publications in medical literature. It is one of the largest non-university based physician training centers in the nation with over 200 Ochsner-sponsored medical residents, over 300 medical residents from affiliated residency programs, over 600 medical students, and 400 allied health students annually.

Ochsner continuously meets the ever-changing patient and community needs through electronically-linked hospitals and health centers. Electronic medical records are available from any Ochsner location allowing for the most consistent patient care, both for routine health needs and more complex medical conditions.  For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.