John Rubino: Quality care plan

December 27, 2012 

Quality care plan

I applaud The News & Observer for its series of articles on the impact to health care costs as hospital systems acquire independent physician practices. The series has brought greater transparency to the general public regarding these increased costs without corresponding increases in the quality of care. Hopefully your reporting will be a spark to begin righting the North Carolina health care ship.

In an interesting corollary, just this past week Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced a new insurance product offering a high-quality network of physicians at a reduced premium, called BlueValue PPO. This product features high-value, independent, Patient-Centered Medical Home model practices. These include Key Physicians IPA in the Triangle and Wilmington Health on the coast. Blue Cross was not able to offer this reduced premium product in Charlotte since essentially all of the physician practices in the greater Mecklenburg County area are controlled by the hospital systems (Carolina’s Healthcare Systems or Novant Health), resulting in more expensive health care driven by this oligopolistic market.

This is another tangible example of why a health care market dominated by one or more hospital systems is not in the public’s best interest.

John Rubino, M.D.

Raleigh

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