MaryBeth Matzek: Health partnership looks to lower costs for consumers

This is an excerpt from a column posted at BizOpinion.

When six healthcare organizations announced a new partnership last month, many consumers wondered how it would affect them. According to Greg Devine, vice president at ThedaCare in Appleton and president and CEO of the partnership – it doesn’t have an official name yet – the move should result in lower costs and improved care.

Along with ThedaCare, the other members of the partnership include Aspirus in Wausau, Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, Bellin Heath in Green Bay, Gundersen Health System in La Crosse and UW Heath in Madison. Together, their service area covers about 90 percent of Wisconsin.

The partnership also struck a deal with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue Priority network to offer insurance through brokers, the federal health insurance marketplace and private health insurance exchanges. The insurance offering is key since that’s how most people access their health coverage and Devine hopes it’s an attractive offering to employers.

“We all came to this because we wanted to provide better care to our patients,” Devine says. “We all have similar ways of doing things and want to provide more affordable care to our patients.”

Right now, Devine’s main role is similar to many start-up executives – he’s out building relationships and looking at ways to get the partnership and its members recognized for their achievements. “We want people to realize our accomplishments,” he says.

The partners are also getting to know each other better. Some of the partners – such as ThedaCare and Bellin – have already worked together on other projects, but others lack that familiarity.

Read the full column for more