Florida pilot to boost care, save money

'We believe a provider who is also involved as a payer has aligned incentives to better manage an individual’s health and wellness'
By Mary Mosquera
08:44 AM
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Two sets of new provider alliances demonstrate how Central Florida health systems are reducing costs and deepening care coordination by extending their capabilities.

One alliance, between Florida Hospital Healthcare System and Health First, will launch a health plan and other insurance products, and the other, between Orlando Health and Walgreens, will result in more coordinated care. Part of the initiative also includes sharing electronic health records.

[See also: Care coordination's day in the sun.]

Florida Hospital Healthcare System, which administers the employee benefits for Florida Hospital, a nonprofit provider operated by Orlando-based Adventist Health System, and Health First, a not-for-profit integrated health system based in Rockledge, Fla., will pilot their first venture, Florida Hospital Care Advantage, the organizations have announced.

The alliance not only offers more local insurance options but aims to reduce costs and help the two systems prepare for anticipated Medicare and Medicaid payment changes by aligning incentives as provider and payer, said Mike Schultz, president and CEO of the Adventist Health System Florida Region. “We believe a provider who is also involved as a payer has aligned incentives to better manage an individual’s health and wellness, whereby lowering the cost of healthcare,” he said in emailed comments.

The pilot, administered by Health First, will begin in January with the five Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties on the Atlantic side of the state providing the infrastructure and clinical and physician support for the plan. The partnership expects to offer insurance plans in nine other counties, including the Orlando and Tampa areas, in the future.

[See also: Survey puts care coordination as 'most important' benefit of HIEs.]

Health First has operated health plans, including Medicare Advantage, for 15 years. Enrollment in the pilot plan will start in October, according to a story published in the Orlando Sentinel

The partnership between Orlando Health, a not-for-profit provider of physician practices, hospitals and care centers, and drug retailer Walgreens, aims to provide better care coordination for Orlando Health patients using Walgreens’ clinics.

With the alliance, Orlando Health physicians and nurse practitioners working at Walgreens’ clinics will be able to directly communicate with each other to promote information sharing about patients, according to a press release.

The two are also exploring sharing electronic health records by enabling read-only access to real-time patient clinical information, and perhaps creating a coordinated online or call center appointment scheduling tool for easier patient access to the services of both providers, the release said.

Walgreens’ clinics offer evening and weekend hours with locations near shopping, making the retailer "uniquely positioned to bridge critical gaps in care and improve patient outcomes," said Jeffrey Kang, MD, Walgreens senior vice president of health and wellness services and solutions, in the release.