Anthem Blue Cross Is On the Right Track

Posted on February 15, 2012

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This story is such a rarity I just had to call your attention to it. First, I’m used to reading bad healthcare news coming out Las Vegas, not something positive. Second, I’m not in the habit of praising insurance companies because, frankly, they’re a big part of what’s wrong with today’s industrial healthcare.

However, this morning I discovered this story in my stack of asthma/COPD material; it was published today in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and was written by Jennifer Robison. I read it three times to make sure I didn’t misunderstand. Anthem Blue Cross in Nevada actually wants Primary Care Physicians to play a larger role in the care of patients with chonic conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart disease. And, get this, they’re actually going to pay physicians for the additional time spent to provide preventative care.

Have you any idea how big this is? Patient care in the US is in the sorry shape its in today largely because physicians are only compensated for core services provided to patients. That’s why you see a PA instead of your doctor on most visits. That’s why you have to speak with the speed of an auctioneer when you do get 2 minutes of his/her precious doctor time. Physicians today are moving patients through their offices in rapic assembly-line fashion just to make the overhead.

Anthem Blue Cross has finally figured out that it is actually less expensive to pay primary care physicians to do things like go over a treatment plan with an asthma patient, or make follow up phone calls to check on medication compliance. This personal preventative care costs Anthem far less money than repeated hospitalizations for uncontrolled chronic disease.

I would love to meet The Mind at Anthem who made this discovery and pushed it past the corporate minions to make it reality. Let us hope this common sense policy change is repeated by many more insurance companies across the land – and quickly.  Its a win for patients and physicians.

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Posted in: Nevada