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Partnership will create premier integrated health delivery system for
 14-county area in west central and southwestern Minnesota
 WILLMAR, Minn., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Under a letter of intent signed today, two leading health care organizations will combine their strengths in order to improve quality, control costs and increase access to health care services to Minnesota residents in west central and southwestern Minnesota. This marks a historic agreement between a health plan and a health care provider.
 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSM) will bring its leadership in data management, financial strength and administrative efficiencies to the partnership. Affiliated Medical Center (AMC) will bring its leadership, expertise and reputation for delivering high- quality, low-cost, medical services to rural Minnesotans.
 "We believe that the health care delivery system works best when it begins at the grass roots or community level. The signing of this letter of intent guarantees strong local input on the decisions related to all aspects of health care delivery from product design and benefits to improving patient care," said Andy Czajkowski, BCBSM president and chief executive officer. "At the same time, the structure developed by this new alliance will help us improve the efficiency of health care services as well as respond to both state and national health care reform initiatives."
 The letter of intent expresses each party's mutual intent to work together for the development of a new health care plan.
 "We look to this agreement as a framework for responding to anticipated health care reform in Minnesota, specifically the creation of integrated service networks (ISNs)," said Richard Schroeder, M.D., AMC president. "The main thrust of ISNs will be cost containment, but this cannot be accomplished without the preservation of existing, but fragile rural delivery systems. Intense efforts must be made to assure the delivery of quality care. We look to BCBSM for leadership and innovation in information systems that can help patients become more informed decision makers in their health care."
 Under the letter of intent, a development team comprising representatives from BCBSM and AMC will determine organizational structure for the new alliance and establish the benefit and product designs the alliance will offer. The alliance will be governed initially by a board consisting of an equal number of members from each organization. An early initiative for the new board will be the design of legal structures to include input or representatives from consumers, purchasers and other network providers.
 Benefits and product design for the new alliance will be established by the governing board. The general intent of both parties is to develop a managed care plan which would offer primary care and secondary services through AMC and include the services of other specialty care providers who contract to participate in the new network. Appropriate utilization controls would also be developed and implemented in the plan. Products offered under the new partnership will include, for example, self-insured employer health plans, small business plans, individual and senior plans, and government-sponsored plans. There is also interest in developing a specific Medicaid program to service the 14-county area.
 "The AMC and BCBSM partnership is a great starting point as we look to other areas of the state where we can further develop strategic alliances with providers," Czajkowski said. "BCBSM will continue to seek opportunities in other communities to help solve health care issues."
 AMC is one of the largest multispecialty clinics in Minnesota, with 85 medical doctors representing 14 medical specialities. AMC provides primary and secondary care to a 14-county area in West Central and Southwestern Minnesota, with clinic sites in Atwater, Benson, Hancock, Litchfield, Marshall, Redwood Falls and New London as well as Willmar.
 BCBSM, a leader in developing innovative relationships with hospitals and physicians, is the state's oldest and largest health coverage carrier. Currently, nearly 1.2 million members are covered by BCBSM health plans or plans administered by the company.
 -0- 5/11/93
 /CONTACT: Lynn Freeman, 612-231-5052, or Mark Thompson, 612-231-5057, both of AMC; Mark Heymans, 612-456-8786, Karl Oestreich, 612-456-1502, or Judy Kerry, 612-456-1515, all of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota/

CO: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota ST: Minnesota IN: MTC SU: JVN

AL -- MN019 -- 7290 05/11/93 18:03 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 11, 1993

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