05 Dec, 2017

Exclusive Interview With Change Healthcare Discussing The Shift Towards Value-Based Care


With our Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly this week, we sat down with Change Healthcare to discuss its new merger with McKesson Technology Solutions, and the impact that value-based care has on the healthcare industry.

Change Healthcare and Aco Partners will be sponsoring our roundtable, “Payer and Provider Partnerships in a Value-Based Reimbursement Environment” during our Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly in Nashville on December 7-8.  

Change Healthcare and McKesson Technology Solutions merged earlier this year to create the NEW Change Healthcare. How is the new organization engaging the marketplace for payers and providers?

CH: The merger between Change Healthcare and McKesson Technology Solutions has created one of the largest independent healthcare technology companies in the US, and an organization that is truly pervasive within the healthcare system. Our combined company offers a broad portfolio of network solutions, software and analytics, and technology-enabled solutions that help both providers and payers achieve their clinical and financial goals.

We are excited about the opportunities ahead of us, but we are also incredibly focused on our mission to help our customers in their transitions towards a value-based care environment. This is a critical time for healthcare in the United States, as customers acknowledge the shift to value but often have trouble making the significant adjustments needed to achieve success. Because of our unique capabilities and interconnected position at the center of healthcare, we want to become an indispensable partner in helping more customers achieve success, from which we will all benefit as individual consumers of healthcare.

What is Aco Partner and how might it impact the healthcare industry?

CH: At Change Healthcare, we seek to be a catalyst for the transition to value-based care, and ACO Partner’s program is a perfect example of our realizing that vision. By creating a partnership between our payer and provider customers, we can help them achieve this transition and work to bring better health to their patients. 

ACO Partner is a value-based collaborative that is dedicated to helping both payers and providers succeed on the path to value-based care and reimbursement. We help customers meet the Triple Aim of improved patient experience, better population health, and improved care efficiency.

While numerous companies are providing support for value-based care transitions, ACO Partner has created a unique model to achieve success. The company is a joint venture between Change Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), who have created a shared savings program within their state.

Participation in this program is only available to independent primary care practices that accept BCBSAZ commercial plans, and by meeting selected quality and cost metrics these providers can earn extra reimbursement each year. We offer this service without forcing the providers to take on shared risk, nor do we charge them any membership or service fees.

In the longer run, we want to build on our initial success with BCBSAZ by partnering with other payers and expanding the number of shared savings programs available in our platform. Expanding our business by partnering with more payers will allow many more physicians to earn shared savings, and ultimately give more patients access to high quality, value-driven care.

What are the biggest challenges facing healthcare stakeholders as the industry shifts from fee-for-service reimbursement to value-based care reimbursement?

CH: Our customers identify a few challenges in making the transition to value-based care.

Firstly, there is a significantly higher resource commitment needed, which creates a burden on providers that are already challenged by falling reimbursement rates and practice consolidation. Few providers can fully absorb the capital costs, staffing, and technology resources to achieve value-based care success on their own.

Secondly, customers aren’t sure how to identify and/or set up the right programs to drive real value in care. This is a problem for both payers and providers that need to balance optimizing their results in the legacy fee-for-service world while transitioning seamlessly to the value-based care world.

Thirdly, there are measurement issues to consider. Healthcare stakeholders must specifically define “value” and how it will be measured and judged on its success. While everyone agrees that we want better quality and lower costs of care, there are still many questions as to how we go about achieving and demonstrating results.

At Change Healthcare, we conduct extensive research around value-based payment trends, which informs our development of products, services, and solutions. In fact, we just released a new national study that looks at value-based reimbursement trends state-by-state.

This study can be downloaded by visiting www.stateVBRstudy.com. We also offer a wealth of perspective on our company blog, viewpoints.changehealthcare.com. Interested parties can visit our blog and click on “Value-Based Care” in the topic list to see our focused research in this area.

How is ACO Partner working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona to create a unique model for a value-based care success?

CH: Success in this environment starts with collaboration between payers and providers. Historically, these groups have kept each other at arm’s length and have not worked together on behalf of their patients. Our company understands that having payers work together with physicians can drive better patient outcomes, and have set up our shared savings program with this in mind.

Our approach with providers is unique because of our focus on independent primary care practices. We truly believe that patients’ best chance to see long-term, sustained health improvement is by getting most of the care from their PCP. If we can elevate that relationship and drive more care to the primary care practice, our entire healthcare system can benefit from lower care costs, better efficiency, and higher quality.

As I mentioned before, we only offer our shared savings program to independent primary care practices. The doctors and clinical staff at such practices are proud and passionate about their traditional role as the first line of care, but they are often the most resource challenged. We want to help ease that burden and help them stay independent for the long-term.

We’re excited that Change Healthcare and ACO Partner are attending our Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly. Can you give our readers a hint as to what you’ll be showcasing?

CH: During our meetings at the Assembly, we will share with attendees some more details about our model, specifically how we use both data and analytics combined with strong care coordination resources to support provider success in value-based care contracts.

We are also excited to share our progress over our first year-plus in the market, engaging our providers and bringing them together in collaboration with BCBSAZ. We are proud that we have onboarded nearly 700 primary care physicians and their practices into our program since launch, and we think this reflects the benefits that providers see by being part of the program.

We will also be prepared to share some strong success indicators in terms of quality and cost of care improvements for our measured patient cohort, and will discuss what factors made this happen for us.

What are the benefits of attending an intimate C-Level event like ours?

CH: Senior executives face a challenging balance in their roles. They must oversee the day-to-day success of their organizations, but they must also provide the vision for future transformation as their industries change. So often the pressures of the first task overwhelm the opportunity to do the second, so we think that events like the Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly are a fantastic opportunity for leaders to take a pause, learn, and think about how their organizations may evolve in the new healthcare world.

For Change Healthcare and ACO Partner, this event gives us a tremendous opportunity to introduce our new companies to potential customers and partners in an intimate setting. Between the roundtable and other meetings, we will be able to pack months’ worth of valuable engagement into just a couple of days.

Thank you Change Healthcare for joining us.


Healthcare Payers Transformation AssemblyChange Healthcare will be sponsoring the discussion “Payer and Provider Partnerships in a Value-Based Reimbursement Environment” at the Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly on December 7-8. 

Value-based care. Population healthcare. Payers and providers working together. These are some of the themes that healthcare professionals will be discussing during out Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly on December 7-8 in Nashville.

You can keep up with the action from the event by following us @Mill_All #MillenniumLive.


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