Erlanger Receives $1 Million Innovation Award From BlueCross

Payment Aims To Enhance, Promote Heath Care Quality

Thursday, July 17, 2014

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has awarded the Erlanger Health System $1 million for innovation initiatives designed to enhance and promote health care quality in the community.  

The Innovation Award payment is part of a five-year strategic partnership between Erlanger and BlueCross announced last April, making Erlanger the exclusive Chattanooga health system in the BlueCross’ Blue Network ESM.

“Our exclusive partnership with BlueCross has always been centered around patient care,” said Erlanger President and CEO Kevin Spiegel, noting that Erlanger utilizes these funds to provide more coordinated, patient-centered care, and offer targeted treatment and aftercare services for the chronically ill or injured individuals.  “This funding will also enable us to continue to help Erlanger achieve enhanced patient care for the community, as well as better outcomes.”

One initiative funded by the BlueCross award was the creation of a Care Transition Team targeting high-risk patients, age 65 and older, with no primary care physician and with repeated visits to Erlanger’s Emergency Room within six months. High risk conditions include congestive heart failure, COPD and pneumonia, among others.  Within one week of every ER visit to Erlanger, a designated navigator on the Care Transition Team follows up with a phone call to ensure the patient is taking medications, to see if further assistance is needed, and to encourage a primary care visit.    

“Our mutual goal in this collaborative effort was to develop innovative approaches - like Erlanger’s Care Transition Team - to deliver high-quality, cost-effective health care,” said BlueCross CEO Bill Gracey. “We are investing not only in Erlanger and the patients it cares for, but also in the health of the Chattanooga community.”

During the joint announcement of their strategic partnership last April, officials with both organizations stressed that their agreement would significantly benefit the community, particularly after the new health care law went into effect this year. The agreement, which made Erlanger the exclusive Chattanooga health system in the new Blue Network E, covered many of those enrolling in the health care marketplace. Recent figures show that there are currently over 10,000 subscribers in the Erlanger-only Blue Network E.

"This partnership has not only enabled the state’s largest and leading health plan to bring alignment and cost-effectiveness into the health delivery system, it has also helped Erlanger grow its commercial business, increasing revenue and income from operations,” Mr. Spiegel noted.

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