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New Omaha-area network “changing how health care works”

High-quality, affordable care is the goal of groundbreaking collaboration

OMAHA (July 25, 2012) – Three of Nebraska’s most-respected health care companies have formed an innovative, high-performance network of doctors and hospitals designed to increase the quality of medical care Nebraskans receive while reducing medical and health insurance costs.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), Nebraska Methodist Health System and The Nebraska Medical Center and their affiliated physicians have developed a “select-tier” health care network and health insurance product—the first large-scale collaboration of its kind in the state—that features full health benefits at lower costs when choosing from a select group of physicians.

“Health care reform coming from Washington has received a lot of attention the past few years,” said Steven S. Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCBSNE. “But these three parties believe reform is most effective in a local context, and that health care should be a team sport—consumer, doctor and hospital, and insurance company working together to address quality and affordability.

“This collaborative effort lays the groundwork for changing how health care works in Nebraska.”

BCBSNE, the state’s largest health insurance company, chose Methodist Health System and The Nebraska Medical Center—competing hospital systems—because of each system’s commitment to maintaining quality standards, while working to lower medical costs.

“Patients want high quality care and they are concerned about cost,” said Glenn Fosdick, President and CEO of The Nebraska Medical Center. “This collaboration addresses both, and it is a unique way for practicing physicians to provide input into the design and utilization of an insurance plan.”

The new combined network offers internationally recognized cancer and transplant treatment, leading neurology and cardiology programs, complete women’s care and a center of excellence for orthopedic and sports medicine—all with a promise of better-coordinated care for consumers.

“It’s encouraging from the patient perspective that we’re getting cooperative ventures within the provider system in the Omaha metro area,” said Methodist physician Dr. Bill Shiffermiller. It’s a new era of cooperation that will hopefully make for higher quality and more efficient health care.”

The first initiative to result from this three-party agreement is the “SelectBlue” group of insurance products. Depending on the health insurance option chosen, consumers could realize out-of-pocket savings up to $9,000 annually when utilizing the new “select tier” of Methodist and Nebraska Medical Center physicians (vs. using “in network” or “out of network” providers). The three companies are working on a similar product that will be offered to small businesses later this year.

“This collaboration is the kickoff to more affordable care, which is one of the goals of health care reform,” said Methodist Health System President and CEO John Fraser. “Independent of an employer-based plan, this provides families and individuals with access to higher quality health care at an affordable price.”

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