Premera, MultiCare announce new alliance in Pierce County

MultiCare Health System and Premera Blue Cross announced a new collaboration on Tuesday aimed at improving customer experience, strengthening health outcomes, and decreasing health care costs. MultiCare, a health care organization with more than 16,000 employees, and Premera, the largest health plan in the Pacific Northwest, will launch their new product, Peak Care, in the Pierce County market effective January 2019.

According to a release, the goal of Peak Care is to integrate the resources and expertise of MultiCare and Premera to improve customers’ experiences navigating the health care system. Through Peak Care, customers will be able to quickly see a specialist without needing a referral and will have access to MultiCare Connected Care’s Clinically Integrated Network, which includes over 3,500 providers and practices.

Premera and MultiCare will also offer several digital services to help patients navigate their care. These services include digital appointment scheduling, parking services, medication reminders, and customer reviews. Peak Care will allow customers to utilize virtual care such as video visits and house calls by physicians and will provide comprehensive maternity care through virtual care and personal health navigators.

Peak Care customers will also have access to MultiCare’s 16 Indigo Urgent Care facilities.

“[Peak Care is] a product of our collaboration that’s really aligned around making health care work better when people show up and get care. It’s not just a contractual relationship between the two of us that’s invisible to the consumer and the purchaser. It will be something that’s tangibly different and better,” said Dr. John Espinola, Executive Vice President of Healthcare Services for Premera.

The partnership between Premera and Multicare is a unique alliance in that relationships between health plans and providers are often antagonistic, says Steve Kipp, vice president of corporate communications at Premera.

“Traditionally what you have is an adversarial relationship between the payer from a health insurance company and the providers,” says Kipp. “And this is a groundbreaking example of how a provider (an independent hospital system), and Premera can work together and collaborate in order to make health care work better for the patient.”

At its launch, Peak Care will be available to Pierce County-based employers with the plan for wider distribution in 2020. Premera estimates Peak Care could save employers as much as 15 percent compared to a traditional preferred provider organization plan. Over the next two years, Premera and Multicare will continue to collaborate and develop new services and tools available through Peak Care.

“This can become the model for how we connect with our communities to provide care to them in much more productive ways from an outcome perspective, an ease of use perspective, and ultimately a cost perspective,” says Bill Robertson, President and CEO of MultiCare.