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Blue Cross NC invests in venture to keep private practices afloat

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina wants to make sure independent physician practices survive as the administrative burdens and costs of managing a private practice increase.

The insurer announced June 29 it will launch a new joint venture with Deerfield Management Co., a healthcare investment firm, to support solo groups.

"Independent physicians in North Carolina have an especially difficult burden when it comes to managing their practices without the resources and scale that comes with being part of a larger organization," said Tunde Sotunde, MD, president and CEO of Blue Cross NC. "We want to empower independent physicians, especially primary care, by offering a new level of support to help them lead their practices in a time of great change in healthcare."

The venture will provide administrative infrastructure and support services to practices, and offer physicians multiple options on how to structure the management and ownership of their practices. Physicians can also access technology to monitor, manage and coordinate patient care through the venture. Blue Cross NC will share data and insights to physician practices with the new venture.

Blue Cross NC already partners with physician practices through the Blue Premier program, which focuses on helping practices transition to value-based care through any health plan.

Von Nguyen, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Blue Cross NC, said providing independent practices with resources through the new venture will boost quality of care and lower costs for members.

"Independent physicians typically have hundreds, if not thousands, of patients to care for, and they have a business to run," he said. "If we provide additional support to help them meet these demands, we can have a positive impact on health outcomes while doing more to address rising healthcare costs."

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