SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Glenn Rossman, Cynthia Dunlop, Peter Silva

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Blue Shield, Hill Physicians and Dignity Health Expand Successful Accountable Care Model to San Joaquin County

SAN FRANCISCO, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Shield of California, Hill Physicians Medical Group and Dignity Health announced today a three-year accountable care initiative to provide integrated, cost-efficient care to approximately 14,600 Blue Shield HMO members in San Joaquin County. About 10,300 of these enrollees are members of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). The organizations expect this collaboration to result in improved quality and efficiencies in care with no healthcare cost trend increase in the first year, and low, single-digit increases in the subsequent years of the collaboration.

To achieve this goal, the healthcare organizations have formed a commercial Accountable Care Organization (ACO) to share clinical and case management information and coordinate comprehensive healthcare services for Blue Shield HMO members assigned to a participating Hill physician. The ACO will also include Dignity's local facility, St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton. This ACO is the third such arrangement between these three organizations, and Blue Shield's twelfth such program in the state. The first collaboration between Blue Shield, Dignity Health, and Hill Physicians has served CalPERS members in the Sacramento area since 2010, and a second program launched in 2011 serves members of the City and County of San Francisco.

The goal of the ACO collaboration is to keep health care affordable for Blue Shield members and employers in the local area. The organizations will build on their successful accountable care shared-risk model and best practices from their earlier work in the San Joaquin market. A multidisciplinary team representing both organizations will identify and implement long-term strategies to build a care delivery model designed to improve quality through better coordination of care while removing unnecessary costs from the healthcare delivery system. The initiative will continue at minimum through 2016.

"This is a natural expansion of our expertise and an important way of helping the patient and the provider," said Harpreet Grewal, M.D., medical director for Hill Physicians San Joaquin Region. "Our accountable care work in Sacramento and San Francisco has helped us develop best practices. We are now confident that these can be adapted to meet the needs of San Joaquin area residents, ultimately lowering the premium costs for our members and enabling our affiliated practices to attract new patients."

"As the largest hospital in San Joaquin County, we are pleased to be part of this initiative to improve access to high-quality, affordable health care," said Donald Wiley, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton. "We have a longstanding mission to provide a just health system and meet the needs of our community."

Blue Shield currently works with hospitals, physician groups and employers to deliver integrated care to more than 230,000 members across the state. "Blue Shield is thrilled to be expanding our collaboration with Hill and Dignity by bringing this successful program to our membership in San Joaquin County," said Kristen Miranda, vice president of strategic partnerships and innovation at Blue Shield of California. "This coordinated care model has made a major difference in the efficiency and quality of care our members receive, while controlling the cost of healthcare."

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 3.3 million members, 5,000 employees and $10.5 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California provides health, life, dental, vision, and Medicare insurance and health care service plans in California. Blue Shield of California was named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies in 2012 and 2013. Since 2005, the company has contributed more than $200 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation, one of BusinessWeek's most generous corporate foundations. Contact your local agent or broker about Blue Shield of California products and services, or visit www.blueshieldca.com.

About Hill Physicians Medical Group

Hill Physicians Medical Group is the largest independent physician association in Northern California and a recognized leader in innovative healthcare. The Integrated Healthcare Association and California Association of Physician Groups have recognized Hill Physicians as one of the top-performing medical groups in the state. Committed to serving healthy lifestyles, Hill Physicians Medical Group offers extensive health education services to its patients, including wellness classes, health screenings and self-help through its online information portal at www.HillPhysicians.com.

About Dignity Health St. Joseph's Medical Center

St. Joseph's Medical Center is a not-for-profit, fully accredited, regional hospital specializing in cardiovascular care, comprehensive cancer services, and women and children's services including neonatal intensive care (NICU). St. Joseph's Medical Center is the largest hospital, as well as the largest private employer in San Joaquin County. In addition to being nationally recognized as a quality leader, St. Joseph's is consistently chosen as the "most preferred hospital" by local consumers. St. Joseph's Medical Center is committed to delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable healthcare services with special attention to the poor and underserved. In 2013, St. Joseph's provided over $70 million in charity care, community benefits, and unreimbursed patient care. St. Joseph's Medical Center is a member of Dignity Health, the fifth largest health system in the country with a network of care sites across Arizona, California, and Nevada. For more information, please visit our website at www.StJosephsCares.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Lindy Wagner
Blue Shield of California
(415) 229-6872
[email protected]

Dan Robinson
Hill Physicians
(925) 327-6731
[email protected]

Becky Furtado
Dignity Health
(916) 851-2792
[email protected]

SOURCE Blue Shield of California

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