In a strategic move to further advance its vision for creating a sustainable healthcare system, LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon today announced a series of steps aimed at improving health and lowering costs for its customers. LifeWise’s plan includes developing programs that increase support of healthy lifestyles and aligning with healthcare delivery organizations that share a commitment to improve quality of care while managing cost.
“As costs continue to rise under our current system of healthcare, families and businesses are finding that paying for healthcare is outpacing most vital services. The current system is unsustainable and change is essential,” said Majd El-Azma, LifeWise president and CEO. “At LifeWise, we believe we play a crucial role – where care, cost and coverage converge. Our relationships with customers, employers and healthcare practitioners provide optimal opportunities to encourage healthy lifestyles and to collaborate to advance appropriate, cost-effective care.”
According to El-Azma, working to design sustainable plans has always been part of the company’s mission, as evidenced by the upcoming request for a third consecutive decrease in base rates since July 2011 for its small employer customers. As a result, employers will see only moderate increases in their monthly rates if this request is approved. “While we are pleased with our success in starting to bend the trend, it’s not enough to achieve long-term sustainability, so our work continues,” he added.
Chief among its plan to link quality care and cost management, LifeWise has entered into a strategic alignment with Providence Health & Services (Providence) in which Providence will become the primary provider of hospital services to LifeWise members seeking treatment in the Portland metro area. In addition to Providence, Tuality Healthcare will provide access to members in the Hillsboro area. Together these two groups will become the exclusive in-network providers of hospital services effective July 1, 2013. LifeWise members will continue to have access to the nearly 4,000 Portland area independent healthcare practitioners who are currently in the LifeWise network, as well as the physicians within the Providence and Tuality systems.
In addition, LifeWise will deploy new programs and services that over the next year will more directly encourage healthy habits and cost management. Among these activities will be more focused reviews of medical policies to support its customers in receiving the most effective care; healthy eating and tracking tools; and programs that reward healthy lifestyles including a wellness incentive program for employer groups that will link employee engagement in wellness activities to a reduction in operating costs.
“While Providence is acknowledged as a leading provider of patient care across multiple locations in the Portland metro area, it also brings a solid reputation in specialty fields of research and a commitment to integrated care management,” explained El-Azma. “Equally important, this focused collaboration between a health plan and a delivery system puts us in an advantageous position to make significant investments in the development of improved models of care that we believe will directly benefit the personal and financial health of our customers.”
Programs to be introduced in 2013 include:
- Focus groups of LifeWise patients to give both organizations feedback on improving healthcare experiences;
- Providence participation in LifeWise’s employer advisory group to create a direct connection and coordinate efforts to improve employee’s health and use of healthcare;
- Use of collective data, analytics and care management resources to increase the effectiveness of Providence’s new care delivery initiatives such as its medical home for LifeWise customers.
“These are times of great change in healthcare, and we are focused on doing everything we can to improve health, provide the best care experience and make services more affordable,” said Shelly Handkins, chief financial officer for Providence in Oregon. “Strategic alignments such as this one are a new approach to reaching those goals and creating healthier communities for everyone.”
LifeWise sales and customer service representatives will work closely with its customers, producers and employers to provide the information necessary to understand these changes and help them plan for an effective transition in July 2013. Customers with specific questions about changes in LifeWise’s hospital network should call 888-739-1768 or go online at lifewiseor.com/together.
About LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon
LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon is committed to providing Oregon employers, families and individuals with peace of mind about healthcare coverage. LifeWise offers a range of health plans backed by responsive, local customer service. The company has provided health benefits to members in Oregon since 1986. LifeWise is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., providing health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, workforce wellness and other related products and services. The family of companies employs approximately 3,000 people and provides healthcare coverage and related services to 1.6 million members.
Nasdaq quotes delayed at least 15 minutes, all others at least 20 minutes.
Markets are closed on certain holidays. Stock Market Holiday List
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Press Release Service provided by PRConnect.
Stock quotes supplied by Telekurs USA
Postage Rates Bots go here