WILMINGTON, N.C. – 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 health care 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 health care needs of patients.

The Alliance is based on an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), a model that BCBSNC and health care 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 health care 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 better 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 health care 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 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 health care. 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 health care services, we can continue to shift our health care 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 improvements in health outcomes is critical.”

About NHRMC & NHRMC Physician Group:
New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the leading provider of quality and accessible health care in Southeastern North Carolina, delivering care to all in need, without the support of taxpayer dollars. The medical center takes seriously its responsibility as an economic engine for the community, creating more than 5,000 jobs directly and another 6,000 jobs indirectly.

The NHRMC Physician Group is committed to providing the highest quality health care to residents of Southeastern North Carolina. With more than 140 providers in both primary care and specialty fields, the NHRMC Physician Group's doctors can focus on providing the best medical care to their patients while benefiting from the shared resources of New Hanover Regional Medical Center.  For more information visit, www.nhrmc.org and http://www.nhrmc.org/nhrmc-physician-group.

About Wilmington Health:
With a focus on quality, Wilmington Health is leading the way in providing excellent healthcare, reducing costs, and improving the patient experience. Wilmington Health has provided premier healthcare to the residents of Southeastern North Carolina for over 40 years. It is the largest private, fully integrated, multi-specialty medical group practice in the area with over 20 locations (including Convenient Care and Urgent Care). For more information about Wilmington Health, please call 910.341.3300, or visit www.wilmingtonhealth.com.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.74 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For generations, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute in 2012 and 2013. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.