Blue Care Network launches genetic testing pilot program to personalize members' medicine

Blue Care Network has launched a precision medicine program called Blue Cross Personalized Medicine that will use pharmacogenomics to personalize and tailor medication treatments for members.

The Detroit-based HMO subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will base the treatments on a review of members' prescribed medications for diagnoses, including behavioral health, cardiology, cardiovascular and oncology, according to an April 5 press release.

A pilot program is underway for some members through the end of 2022, with a full program launch scheduled for January 2023 for eligible Blue Care Network members with pharmacy benefits. The genetic testing program will be free to members and employers. Testing results will not be used for underwriting or to deny or increase the cost of coverage.

OneOme, a Minneapolis-based biotechnology company, will facilitate the new program.

The company will provide pharmacogenomic testing and reporting and analytics through its "RightMed for Populations" program. RightMed provides population analytics, member engagement and pharmacogenomic analysis of 27 genes that may affect how a patient would respond to certain medications to reduce adverse drug reactions.

Each patient and physician will receive a personalized clinical action plan prepared by a trained pharmacogenomic pharmacist who works with their physician to incorporate test results into actionable steps for a targeted care plan for the patient. Any recommendations for medication or regimen changes are optional and are to be determined and agreed upon between the pharmacist, member and their prescribing physician.

"We understand and respect the sensitivity that people have when it comes to protecting their genetic information, and we have built robust protections into our program," Scott Betzelos, MD, Blue Care Network chief medical officer and vice president of HMO strategy and affordability, said. "Our Blue Cross Personalized Medicine team has worked diligently to develop an exclusive end-to-end experience for our members. Patients will manage their own DNA sample collection, using OneOme's easy-to-follow at-home kit, which is then mailed directly to the OneOme laboratory where results are processed and then shared only with the patient, their physician and supporting pharmacist provided by OneOme. Blue Cross, Blue Care Network and our members' employers are not involved in the test collection or analysis process and are not provided access to the test results at any time."

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