BlueCross BlueShield Partners With HEALTHeLINK to Improve Community Health Through Data Exchange

— Data will support physicians and enhance care coordination for nearly one million members, first local plan to participate in innovative initiative—

Buffalo, New York – BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York today announced an innovative partnership with HEALTHeLINK to support physicians and improve health outcomes for BlueCross BlueShield members.  Using HEALTHeLINK’s well established transparent and secure data exchange platform, specific claims data will be available to local participating physicians.  

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, the region’s leading health plan, is the first local plan to share full claims data with HEALTHeLINK, which will enable local physicians to strengthen care coordination, identify and close gaps in care, and focus on preventive care. Physicians will be able to access the consented data through a secure digital platform beginning in 2019. 

HEALTHeLINK enables the exchange of clinical information to improve medical efficiency and quality, while also helping control health-care costs. The organization’s capabilities allow doctors to send and, with patient consent, access clinical data electronically to ensure optimal care coordination regardless of where the member receives care in Western New York. 

“The spirit of collaboration in which we were formed continues as we explore the next steps in leveraging HEALTHeLINK to support the health of our community,” said Daniel E. Porreca, HEALTHeLINK executive director. “Combining clinical and claims data from across the community gives treating providers a more complete picture of their patient’s health using input from all care settings.  Bringing in the first stream of claims from BlueCross BlueShield represents a significant step to enhancing our ability to support the community for quality of care reporting” 

“By sharing data in this capacity, we can strengthen physicians’ ability to provide well-coordinated, high-quality care to our members,” said Dr. Thomas Schenk, the health plan’s senior vice president and chief medical officer. “We are proud to be the first health plan in the region to take this step, and believe it’s reflective of our commitment to the overall health of our members and community.” 

This initiative is part of the health plan’s multifaceted approach to improving the way health care is delivered and supporting the transition of primary care practices in Western New York to a patient-centered model.  

“The more transparency that we can have between payers and providers, the more effective we can be in making a long-term impact on the overall health of Western New Yorkers,” Schenk added. 

BlueCross BlueShield previously announced that Western New York is one of four markets recently selected to participate in the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) Initiative by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).   The CPC + program aims to strengthen primary care and quality through regionally-based multi-payer payment reform and care delivery transformation. Data sharing through HEALTHeLINK is a key to creating success for that program and others like it.

The local health plan is also one of the founding members and funders of HEALTHeLINK in collaboration with Western New York’s major hospital systems and regional health plans. 

HEALTHeLINK is a collaboration among hospitals, physicians, health plans and other health care providers in the eight counties of western New York State to securely exchange clinical information to improve the quality of care, enhance patient safety and mitigate health care costs. HEALTHeLINK is a Qualified Entity of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY), which enables providers to access their patients’ data from across the state. HEALTHeLINK is also a founding member of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), the national trade association of health information exchanges. Providers and patients can visit or @HEALTHeLINK on both Facebook and Twitter for more information.

About BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York:
BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a division of HealthNow New York Inc., one of New York’s leading health care companies that provides access to quality health care and solutions for members throughout Upstate New York. Since 1936, BlueCross BlueShield has helped millions of people gain access to health care. Today, we offer a full range of insured, self-insured, and government programs and services covering businesses, families, and individuals, as well as life and disability coverage, dental and vision plans and stop-loss coverage. The company contributes significantly to organizations that promote physical health, community health and our region’s health, and BlueCross BlueShield employees also raise and donate several hundred thousand dollars each year. Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, the company is an independent Licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is an association of 35 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield companies.