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NHRMC, Wilmington Health, and BCBSNC Launch NC’s First Accountable Care Alliance

New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC), Wilmington Health (WH), and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) have agreed to launch an Accountable Care Alliance to enhance care and provide greater value for healthcare consumers in Southeastern North Carolina. The first of its kind in North Carolina, this unique collaboration brings together a leading hospital system, independent multi-specialty clinics, and an insurer to better meet the healthcare needs of patients. 

The Alliance is based on an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), a model that BCBSNC and healthcare providers have adopted and launched across North Carolina as a way to provide high-quality, coordinated, and efficient care for patients. The Alliance, like the ACO model, will establish a payment structure that focuses on providing high-quality care while reining in medical costs.

The Alliance serves patients across their healthcare experience—from a wellness visit, during surgery, to an unforeseen trip to the ER. NHRMC, BCBSNC, and Wilmington Health will work as a team to coordinate care, align resources, and share information that helps streamline processes and improve the overall patient experience. The groups will work together to reveal gaps in care such as skipped prescriptions or missed disease screenings that may lead to preventable ER visits. The Alliance's collaborative approach helps to avoid duplicate tests and services, while focusing on the patient to ensure they receive the most effective care based on best practices.

Over the next several months, the structure of the Alliance will take shape to focus on four key areas: quality of care, patient satisfaction, access to care, and affordability. Patients and employers will benefit in a number of ways:

  • Proactive services that help patients achieve wellness and receive preventive care such as immunizations and screenings.
  • Tools, materials, and outreach that help patients manage their chronic diseases. 
  • Secure online access to their own health information so patients can actively participate in their care.
  • Staff to help patients navigate care at the right level, at the right time, in the right setting.
  • Safer, more effective care as a result of shared knowledge and best practices among healthcare providers.
  • More information about the quality and costs of care.

Patients do not need to enroll in the Alliance. Current and new BCBSNC customers who are patients of New Hanover Regional Medical Center and/or Wilmington Health will automatically benefit from enhanced coordination of their care.

"We are pleased to form this alliance. By collectively focusing our efforts on coordinating care, we'll work to reduce the costs while continuing to deliver the high-quality care that our residents throughout this region deserve," said Jack Barto, NHRMC president and chief executive officer. "The physicians in Southeastern N.C. are highly skilled and actively involved in shaping the future of healthcare. This collaboration is one more step toward our goal of continuous quality improvement."

"By working together to reward the medical community for the value, not volume, of their healthcare services, we can continue to shift our healthcare system to one that is more collaborative, effective, and focused on the patient," said Lisa Cade, BCBSNC vice president of network management. 

"With this physician-led model, we hope to improve the communication and coordination among NHRMC, BCBSNC and other providers in this region, all with a focus on continuing to provide high-quality patient care," said Jeff James, chief executive officer, Wilmington Health. "Keeping the patient at the center of all our efforts while focusing on delivering sustainable improvement in health outcomes is critical."

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