The initial goals for the health plan include offering Medicare Advantage, commercial and self-funded products to the general public that will launch in 2014, as well as making the plan available to the two health systems’ combined employee and family base of more than 35,000.
This partnership comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that the two leaders in the metro Atlanta healthcare market had formed the Georgia Health Collaborative, a first of its kind in the state, focused on the development of innovative healthcare delivery models such as population management.
Piedmont began development of a health-system-based health insurance plan in late July when it partnered with Evolent Health, a Washington-based company created by the Advisory Board Co. and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, to create and launch the health plan. The university has one of the country’s most successful health-system-based health plans, and through Evolent will be helping other systems across the country develop health-system-based health plans.
“We believe our industry’s future relies on successfully implementing a population health model of care – delivering disease prevention and care management with higher quality at lower costs,” said Gregory A. Hurst, president and interim chief operating officer at Piedmont. “Launching a health plan helps us move more quickly toward that future, and we consider this yet another area where we can demonstrate vision and leadership in Georgia’s healthcare industry.”
Reynold J. Jennings, president and CEO of WellStar, said, “As leaders in the Atlanta healthcare market, Piedmont and WellStar are uniquely positioned to work together to achieve improved clinical results and reduction in costs as dictated in the 2010 federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Health systems that have a broader geographic reach and larger population base will be best suited to react to and sustain operations regardless of future federal and state legislative outcomes.”
Both Piedmont and WellStar have been successful at creating Accountable Care Organizations, including patient medical homes, which address the disease prevention and management aspect of a population health model. Success of such programs hinge on the support and coaching health systems provide to patients, particularly those with chronic illnesses.