; Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Vermont, Brattleboro Retreat Announce Groundbreaking Approach To Care Management
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Press Release

Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Vermont, Brattleboro Retreat Announce Groundbreaking Approach To Care Management

May 28, 2013

BERLIN – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and the Brattleboro Retreat, two non-profit companies with a long history of service to Vermonters, today announced the creation of a new organization to integrate the management of mental health and substance abuse services with those of traditional medical care. The new organization, Vermont Collaborative Care, is jointly owned by the two non-profits and will provide care management services for about 200,000 Vermonters, beginning July 1.

Don George, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, called the creation of VCC “groundbreaking,” and said it will improve the quality of care as well as the service that members receive.

"Vermont Collaborative Care is an important partnership, for our organizations and for Vermont,” he said.  “Its integrated, member-focused approach to care management will help assure that members get the care they need and are supported with Vermont-based service that is consistent with BCBSVT’s unwavering commitment to outstanding member experiences.”

“Care management integration has been discussed for years, but little progress has been made in developing viable models,” agreed Rob Simpson, President and CEO of the Brattleboro Retreat. “We have known for a long time that we need to treat the whole person; that the head and the body are part of one complete person. This underscores the need to assure that physical and mental health care are approached in a unified and patient centered manner to assure optimum and cost effective patient outcomes. Vermont Collaborative Care has been created to support that integrated care.”

VCC will provide integrated care management, coordination and support through a staff of Vermont-based clinicians and case managers co-located with BCBSVT care management staff.

Previously, medical care management was done separately from management for mental health and substance abuse services.  An integrated approach will be particularly valuable for members who have co-existing medical, mental, or substance abuse conditions.  Using an integrated claims data base, evidence-based guidance, and an individualized care review process, VCC and BCBSVT staff will jointly support providers as they improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of care for the whole person across all conditions.

Mr. George and Dr. Simpson spoke about Vermont Collaborative Care at a news conference at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont’s main offices, in the central Vermont community of Berlin. Peter Albert, the Retreat’s senior vice president of government relations and managed service organization, and Dr. Robert Wheeler, BCBSVT’s chief medical officer, participated as well. Mr. Albert will be president of VCC.

Initially, VCC will provide integrated care management, coordination and support, beginning July 1, to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont’s nearly 190,000 members. The new company will offer integrated care management services to other payers as well.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, providing coverage for about 190,000 Vermonters. It employs about 340 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin, a branch office in South Burlington and its recently opened satellite office – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont Information and Wellness Center also in South Burlington, and offers group and individual health plans. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.