To navigate and succeed in a brave new world of health care reform, Independent Health and CDPHP are pleased to announce the creation of a strategic alliance that will allow our plans to share best practices while remaining independent. For nearly 30 years, our non-competing plans have worked side-by-side on a number of projects. We both agree that now is the time to take this partnership to the next level!
We want to be clear. This is not a merger, but an alliance that will allow our organizations to continue doing what we do best: improve the health and wellness in our respective communities. Combining the talents, resources and expertise of two award-winning, ACHP-member organizations – with very similar missions and visions – our plans can build innovative tools, products and services for providers, employers and individuals from Buffalo to Albany, N.Y.
The future of health care requires enhanced IT and web capabilities, and the latest technology and advanced infrastructure. From telemedicine and virtual doctor’s visits to new and improved project management systems and call center technologies, our plans need economies of scale. This alliance will allow us to pool our resources, increase our purchasing power and make the capital investments needed to compete in the new marketplace.
To achieve these goals, one option we are discussing is possibly developing a shared services organization (SSO) to share jointly in these investments of new capabilities and services. Sharing these cost savings with our customers through reduced premiums will, in turn, help local businesses grow as they will be spending less of their resources on health care.
Some of you may be wondering, “How will this affect your members, employees and products?” In the short term, we don’t expect members will notice a big change. Over time, we do expect this will lead to greater efficiencies and savings for both plans. Our employees may be asked to work on joint projects but, overall, it’s business as usual. As for our products, since we serve very different markets, our offerings will continue to be sold separately, but we will collaborate on new product designs and benefits.
This collaboration will also help us support our members as they utilize and navigate increasingly prevalent high-deductible health plans. It will drive partnerships with providers, as we move rapidly to value-based payments and high-performance networks.
Since making this announcement, we’ve received an outpouring of support from physicians, providers, employers and our employees, all of whom see the partnership as an opportunity to make both of our organizations even stronger and more successful. National industry experts are also taking notice of our pioneering alliance and predicting this to be an emerging trend, “Not-for-profit insurance collaboration in N.Y. could be blueprint, experts say,” (Modern Healthcare, May 30).
We will continue to provide updates on this innovative venture as we advance our goals of accountable and affordable care as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act.
–Michael W. Cropp, M.D. and John D. Bennett, M.D.
Michael W. Cropp, M.D., is president and CEO of Independent Health in Buffalo, N.Y., and chairman of the board of the Alliance of Community Health Plans. John D. Bennett, M.D., is president and CEO of Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP) in Albany, N.Y., and member of the Alliance of Community Health Plans board of directors.