Updated August 4 at 1:04pm

Patient-centered care key to curbing costs

By Richard Asinof
Contributing Writer
The CEOs of three commercial health insurers in Rhode Island joined the leaders of Lifespan, the state’s largest hospital network, and Coastal Medical, one of the state’s largest physician-run primary care practices, for a March 28 discussion on “Health Care Reform and the Insurance Exchange.”

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HEALTH CARE

Patient-centered care key to curbing costs

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The CEOs of three commercial health insurers in Rhode Island joined the leaders of Lifespan, the state’s largest hospital network, and Coastal Medical, one of the state’s largest physician-run primary care practices, for a March 28 discussion on “Health Care Reform and the Insurance Exchange.”

Together, they offered details of new insurance products and new health care delivery models that they are bringing into the market. At the center of those efforts is an attempt to engage with the consumer and make the patient the focus of health care delivery.

For the more than 450 people crowded into the Grand Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Providence-Warwick for the Providence Business News-sponsored event, it was a glimpse into the future direction of health care in Rhode Island.

Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, began the panel discussion stressing the importance of patient-centered care in new insurance products and investments in health care delivery service by Blue Cross.

“I’ve been in the health insurance business for 30 years,” he said, saying that the emphasis has supposed to be about building a relationship with providers and patients. “It’s been anything but that. We’re just beginning to change the incentives.”

Blue Cross has invested in new shared savings contracts and in patient-centered medical homes in Rhode Island to encourage population health management and root out waste, according to Andruszkiewicz.

He pointed to the rapid growth of Blue Cross’ investment in patient-centered medical homes. In the last three years, it has grown from six practices with 14,000 patients to 80 practices with more than 160,000 patients.

James Roosevelt, Jr., president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan, offered some insights into his health-insurance’s plans for the Rhode Island market, with a push to help small businesses become self-insured. He also suggested that a plan similar to one in Massachusetts, a partnership with Steward Health Plan that created a tiered, limited-network insurance product, is something under consideration to be offered on the new R.I. Health Benefits Exchange. Neither Steward nor Tufts has offered any detailed enrollment numbers to date.

Stephen Farrell, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of New England Inc., talked about the ways that UnitedHealthcare was attempting to engage the consumer in its new products, such as “Choice Advanced.”

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