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BLUE PLUS AND BEHAVIORAL CARE NETWORK FORM NEW HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT COMPANY

 BLUE PLUS AND BEHAVIORAL CARE NETWORK
 FORM NEW HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT COMPANY
 HMO Joins with Abbott Northwestern, Health One to Deliver
 Less Expensive, Better Managed Behavioral Health Care Services
 ST. PAUL, Minn., June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Plus and Behavioral Care Network (BCN) today announced that they have joined to deliver high-quality, cost-effective chemical dependency and mental health care services through a new health care management firm.
 Blue Plus is the HMO affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBSM). BCN is a joint venture of Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Health One and one of the metropolitan area's largest providers of mental health care services.
 The new firm, to be called Behavioral Health Services, Inc. (BHS) will deliver mental health and chemical dependency services to people covered by employer-sponsored health plans. The network will be available to people covered under BCBSM and Blue Plus health plans, the State of Minnesota health plan, as well as other health plans in the metropolitan area.
 "We think this is a bold and innovative approach to managing mental health and chemical dependency services," said Andy Czajkowski, president and chief executive officer of BCBSM. "It merges the outstanding clinical experience of a major mental health provider with the management capabilities of the state's leading health coverage carrier."
 The venture signals the first time a major health insurer and hospital organization have joined forces to create a dedicated system for managing mental health and chemical dependency services. What makes it so unique is that each parent organization is equally committed to the quality of care provided, treatment outcomes and the cost- effectiveness of the services.
 The new company will manage all clinic, employee assistance, utilization management and quality assurance programs. It also will plan and market new managed behavioral health products and services. Under the terms of the agreement, Blue Plus will own 60 percent of BHS. BCN will own 40 percent.
 "This new partnership will truly benefit Minnesota businesses and their employees," said Richard Palmisano, BCN's chief operating officer. "With the size of this major insurer, we will be able to extend our services to a greater number of people."
 BHS has six clinics serving Minneapolis; Fridley, Minn.; Plymouth, Minn.; Eagan, Minn.; Eden Prairie, Minn.; and Brooklyn Center, Minn. For inpatient care, patients will be referred to Abbott Northwestern. Abbott Northwestern has a 102-bed psychiatric unit and a 15-bed residential treatment center for chemical dependency for adults. The facility also has a 40-bed psychiatric unit for children and adolescents and a 24-bed residential treatment center for adolescent chemical dependency care.
 "The most effective way to manage health care costs is by continuously improving quality," said Mark Banks, M.D., the newly named chief operating officer of Blue Plus. "Through this new company, we will be able to coordinate the delivery of services to achieve optimum efficiencies and reduced costs. In fact, we think we can reduce the costs for these types of services by as much as 60 or 70 percent, compared to unmanaged, fee-for-service products."
 With nearly 180,000 members, Blue Plus is one of the state's largest HMOs. Dedicated to the delivery of high-quality health care, the plan sponsors several preventive health care initiatives, including a preterm-birth prevention program and a clinic-based, physician-assisted smoking cessation program.
 -0- 6/5/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Heymans of BCBSM, 612-456-8786 or 800-382-2000 ext. 8786, or Richard Palmisano of Behavioral Care Network, 612-863-1103/ CO: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Behavioral Care Network, Blue Plus ST: Minnesota IN: MTC SU: JVN PDT


MA -- MN002 -- 7397 06/05/92 10:58 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 5, 1992
Words:592
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