SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Zakia Bouachraoui, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

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Blue Cross NC and IPG Collaborate to Reduce Surgery Costs Through Cost and Quality Transparency

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and IPG, the industry-leading provider of surgical cost management solutions are pleased to announce an expansion of their agreement to lower surgical costs. The two companies will use IPG technology to bring additional transparency and savings to members requiring surgical care and devices.

Blue Cross NC and IPG’s agreement was expanded on January 1, 2018 to include IPG’s tiered device formulary program. The program is the first of its kind, providing transparency, actionable reporting and information on medical device costs. It also serves as a platform to help introduce surgeons to high quality, low-cost alternatives that lead to lower premiums and lower patient out-of-pocket costs.

IPG’s device formulary program:

  • Tiers devices and selects products based on cost and clinical functionality at the time of a procedure. This helps surgeons become aware of new products and alternative, cost effective manufacturers.
  • Raises surgeon awareness, provides incentives and helps them to choose less expensive, high quality devices. This helps to lower the total cost of the surgery, as well as the patient’s out-of-pocket costs.
  • Gives transparency into the devices that surgeons are choosing to support education and health plan contracting.
  • Is easily integrated into any existing value-based or alternative payment strategy to support cost of care initiatives and member benefits.

“This agreement creates a more cost effective and convenient solution for patients,” said Mark Werner, Blue Cross NC Vice President of Network Management. “The expanded relationship with IPG has been very well received by Blue Cross NC and IPG’s surgical facility partners in North Carolina because of its ability to lower costs for our members with limited surgeon and patient disruption.”

Nine months since launching, the program has delivered strong results, achieving more than 20 percent savings on device intensive procedural categories, effectively lowering Blue Cross NC’s product cost and utilization.

“IPG is extremely pleased with the results of the expanded program and the surgical device savings we have been able to deliver to Blue Cross NC,” said Vince Coppola, President & CEO of IPG. “This is a significant step in managing high cost medical devices by providing transparency, actionable information and a scalable platform. We are helping surgeons better understand their options around high quality device alternatives, which will lead to lower costs for members, with no impact on the quality of care provided.”

“By bringing transparency, contracting strategies, analytics and surgical expertise related to the delivery of device-intensive surgical procedures, IPG lets surgeons and facilities make more affordable delivery decisions that drive quality and lower cost around surgical procedures through device selection” said Brian Holt, Chief Innovation Officer of IPG.

IPG has rolled out its device formulary to its health plan partners across the country to further support its mission of bringing high quality, cost effective surgical solutions to the U.S. healthcare market.

This new agreement builds on an existing foundation, which focused on reducing overall healthcare costs for members through savings on medical devices and helping select the best surgical procedures for both quality and cost. The program has been successful at supporting Blue Cross NC’s benefits to members and efforts to control and stabilize surgical care.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About IPG
IPG is the leading provider of Device Benefit Management solutions, working with health plans, providers, surgical facilities and patients across the country to improve quality and reduce costs for surgical procedures through optimization of the most effective site of care and device selection, resulting in more affordable high-quality care to consumers. For more information about IPG, call us at 866.753.0046, or visit us on the web at www.ipg.com.

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