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North Carolina Blues to launch innovative patient-centered medical practice Posted: January 12th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) health insurance plan might have the opportunity to take part in a new medical practice scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2011. The practice is expected to be the result of collaboration between BCBSNC and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Care System, according to a BCBSNC press release.

The joint venture is likely to be located in Orange or Durham County and will serve up to 5,000 BCBSNC members. The practice will focus on individuals who have chronic conditions including:

  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obstructive lung disease

Unlike other disease management programs, the BCBSNC/UNC practice reportedly will focus on more than treating disease symptoms. Instead, care will be coordinated across a number of different health care professionals, specialties and settings.

In addition to traditional office care, participating members will have access to nutritionists, mental health professionals and educational resources. Also available to patients are extended hours, e-visits, televisits and home monitoring options.

In a statement, Dr. William L. Roper, CEO of UNC Health Care said, "this innovative approach with education, patient support and self-management is one important step toward making health care less mysterious and more effective."