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ASPEN MEDICAL GROUP, BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHIELD OF MINNESOTA FORM MANAGED CARE ORGANIZATION; CREATES FRAMEWORK FOR INTEGRATED SERVICE NETWORK

 ST. PAUL, Minn., July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Two major health care organizations will combine their strengths to form an alliance to serve the health care needs of people in the metropolitan area. Through this alliance, Aspen Medical Group and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSM) will be jointly developing an integrated service network (ISN).
 The new organization provides the framework for an ISN, the cornerstone of MinnesotaCare legislation. An ISN is an organization that is accountable for the costs and outcomes associated with delivering a full continuum of health care services to a defined population. An ISN is a new kind of health plan where a network of providers gives all needed health care services for a fixed payment amount. In turn, the ISN should have the incentive to provide care as efficiently and effectively as possible.
 Aspen Medical Group will bring its managed care expertise and reputation for delivering high-quality, cost-effective medical services to residents in the metropolitan area. BCBSM will bring its innovative data management capabilities, financial strength and administration efficiencies to the partnership.
 "Aspen Medical Group has a solid reputation as a high-quality health care organization," said Andy Czajkowski, BCBSM president and chief executive officer. "Combining the leadership of both Aspen and BCBSM in an ISN has exciting potential not only for our two organizations but for others who might learn from our innovations in this new area. At the same time, the structure developed by this new alliance will help us respond to both state and national health care reform initiatives."
 While the two organizations have worked together as an insurer and provider of health care, this new alliance allows them to have a shared vision. A vertically integrated organization by Aspen and BCBSM has the potential to break new ground in managed care nationally in the following ways:
 -- By creating new products through a seamless, efficient health care system
 -- By achieving the most cost-effective administrative efficiencies
 -- By expanding outcomes measurement and continuous quality improvement activities
 -- By encouraging shared decision making by patients
 "This partnership is a good strategic fit," said Bill Riley, Aspen Medical Group chief executive officer. "Both organizations share common core values, such as emphasis on managed care, community service philosophy and commitment to growth. BCBSM is a highly regarded organization."
 This agreement closely aligns the two organizations but does not prevent either organization from continuing existing partnerships or forming similar partnerships with other organizations. While the ISN initially will feature Aspen Medical Group and BCBSM, the agreement is flexible, so it may include others in order to meet customer demand and needs. The ISN will be governed initially by a board consisting of an equal number of members from each organization.
 "This relationship will combine the strengths and expertise of both organizations in order to improve the quality of care for our members and bring more efficiencies to the health care delivery system," said Keith Bakke, M.D., Aspen Medical Group president. "We are extremely excited about working in partnership with BCBSM."
 Aspen Medical Group has more than 120 physicians and health care professionals who provide both primary and specialty care services at eight metropolitan locations.
 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- 7/27/93
 /CONTACT: 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; or Bill Riley of Aspen Medical Group, 612-641-7188/


CO: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota; Aspen Medical Group ST: Minnesota IN: INS MTC SU: JVN

KH -- MN011 -- 6202 07/27/93 11:58 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 27, 1993
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