BCBS of California exec: Provider partnerships forged during pandemic lead to lasting progress

While the pandemic took a significant toll on health systems, taking a "leap of faith" and supporting them throughout it has resulted in hand-in-hand partnerships that are promoting value-based care, said Sandra Clarke, CFO of Blue Shield of California.

Ms. Clarke said that when the pandemic took a toll on providers, the insurer stepped up to ensure there was a strong network members could return to after systems recovered. 

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Blue Shield of California supported 250 healthcare providers with hundreds of millions of dollars in financial support and advanced payments, Ms. Clarke said on "Becker's Payer Issues Podcast."  

During that period, contract changes led to more value-based care that still considered hospital revenue streams through the pandemic.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast. Listen to the full interview here.

Sandra Clarke: Hospitals now look at us and see that when we say we want to be a partner, that we want to change healthcare together, they understand that we're sincere. We have demonstrated that through the actions we've taken, particularly financial. But also in other ways to help them with tool adoption to make their practices more digital for them to be able to continue to see patients in different ways to help raise the overall quality. 

So I think that's been a huge difference, and I hope that what we will continue to see going forward is that more providers understand that a value-based contract is really beneficial to them and to their patients, our members. It's not a cost shift by the health plan. It's a way for us to be all in this together to give them a certain assurance around their revenue stream and to help us work together, to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. That's a big wish. We're starting to see some changes, and I think that the good faith that we demonstrated — our sincerity when we put well over a hundred million dollars out there to help these providers — will hopefully give us some credibility as we continue that conversation.

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