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KEYSTONE HEALTH PLAN EAST TO ADD MULTI-SPECIALTY GROUP PRACTICES; HMO TO BECOME 'MIXED MODEL'

 PHILADELPHIA, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move that will bolster the scope and breadth of its managed care delivery system, Keystone Health Plan East announced that it has signed a letter of intent with American Health Care Groups, Inc. (AHCG) to develop exclusive multi-specialty group practices within its managed care framework.
 The expected date of operation for the first of multiple sites throughout the Delaware Valley is December 1993.
 Multi-specialty group practices are managed care systems where primary care physicians and a multi-disciplinary range of specialists contract to deliver HMO managed care services in each location. The sites will offer pediatrics, primary care medicine, obstetrics, diagnostic services, pharmacy and specialty services.
 Keystone, established as an Independent Practice Association (IPA) HMO, will now be a mixed model. In addition to directly contracting with individual physicians, hospitals, and ancillary providers, Keystone will now also contract with AHCG to provide multi-specialty healthcare services in self-contained locations.
 The Keystone/AHCG Alliance
 Keystone will contract with AHCG, a managed care delivery system company headquartered in Reston, Va. Both the CEO and the president of AHCG are experienced managed care professionals: Jim Carlson, CEO, is a former executive with The Prudential; and William Copeland Jr., president, is a former partner with Deloitte & Touche in Philadelphia who specialized in managed care consulting.
 "This partnership is one more strategic step on the part of Blue Cross, Blue Shield and Keystone toward providing a multitude of efficient healthcare delivery options to our customers and members," said G. Fred DiBona, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross.
 Samuel D. Ross, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Blue Shield, said, "This type of quality, cost-effective managed care reinforces Keystone's solid position -- as a leader now and as a leader under healthcare reform."
 Keystone is the jointly owned HMO subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross and Pennsylvania Blue Shield.
 "Our alliance with Keystone will be a winner. Keystone is the fastest-growing HMO in the country, and has the vision and innovation we seek in our partners," said Copeland. "We are excited about building a group model delivery system here in Philadelphia. We believe that the prepaid multi-specialty physician group model is the best vehicle for delivering healthcare. Keystone's commitment to quality service is consistent with our vision."
 Model Advantages
 "We are excited to expand our capabilities as a managed care organization, and look forward to delivering high quality, efficient care via a group model," said Allen F. Wise, president and CEO of Keystone Health Plan East. "A multi-specialty group offers enhanced coordination of care, a superior practice environment for physicians, efficiency of care, and patient convenience."
 Keystone's mixed model position is unique, according to Wise. "It's unusual for a large, successful IPA-type of HMO to branch into group practices. But we see it as an opportunity to offer another solid, quality-driven option to the market."
 The group model has broad impact as far as managing efficiency and continuity of care. Patients take advantage of the convenience of having most of their doctors accessible in one geographic location; and by the same token, physicians have at their disposal a team of clinicians, medical records systems, in-house diagnostic services and a superior network of specialists and hospitals.
 "It's one-stop medical care shopping," summarized Wise. "By its very design, it promotes efficient, quality patient care management and service. Plus, it's easier to monitor and insure quality care."
 For employers, the group model represents the addition of yet another product design to Keystone's expanding product spectrum. It offers lower premiums, improved accountability for employers; and enhanced service, quality and convenience for employees and dependents.
 Keystone Health Plan East, with 470,000 members, is the fastest- growing HMO in the country, offering health care coverage in the five- county region of southeastern Pennsylvania, through a network of 61 hospitals and more than 5,200 physicians and specialists. Keystone Health Plan East is a jointly owned subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross and Pennsylvania Blue Shield.
 /delval/
 -0- 7/9/93
 /CONTACT: Kathie Lister, 215-241-2004, or Lise Geduldig, 215-241-2174, both of Keystone Health Plan East/


CO: Keystone Health Plan East ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA INS SU:

MJ-CC -- PH013 -- 9911 07/09/93 12:27 EDT
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Date:Jul 9, 1993
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