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November 14, 2012
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota signs Total Cost of Care contract with Essentia

FARGO – Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) has signed a Total Cost of Care contract with Essentia Health, Fargo. The new contract is part of an effort to reimburse medical facilities with an emphasis on quality of care rather than volume of services delivered, while improving care coordination and holding down member health care costs.

Essentia Health joins Altru Health System, Grand Forks; Sanford Health, Fargo and Sioux Falls; and Sanford Bismarck (formerly Medcenter One), as the state's largest integrated hospital systems that have signed the new reimbursement arrangement.

"Entering into a contractual relationship with Essentia through our Total Cost of Care contract along with our MediQHome program will enhance our partnership toward better quality care for patients and our members," said Sharon Fletcher, BCBSND's senior vice president of Health Network Innovation. "We are thrilled that Essentia is a partner in our collective efforts to build an affordable health system in North Dakota. Our goal is to ensure that our members receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place, and for the right reasons."

The shift in the reimbursement model mirrors a national trend of insurance companies and medical providers adopting the principles of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), or a network of insurance companies, providers and doctors that collaborate to better coordinate patient care. The goal is to improve the quality of care delivered and reduce health care costs.

North Dakota's integrated health care delivery system makes the state conducive to an ACO payment model. One hundred percent of hospitals and 98 percent of doctors in North Dakota accept BCBSND insurance coverage.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
BCBSND is a member-owned, not-for-profit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. As North Dakota's largest provider of health care coverage, BCBSND is taking BOLD steps to collaborate with doctors, hospitals, clinics and members to ensure affordable access to quality health care in the state. To learn more about BCBSND, visit www.BCBSND.com.

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