RI Blue Cross and University Medicine enter partnership

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island and a physician’s group have entered into a partnership aimed at improving health care and slowing cost increases.

The three-year shared-savings agreement between the state’s dominant insurer and the 200-physician University Medicine group focuses on preventive health care, limiting unnecessary hospitalizations and improving patients’ overall experience.

It also aims to bolster the role of primary care physicians. University Medicine will offer expanded after-hours care and work with behavioral health providers to better coordinate care. It will also expand its “patient centered medical home” model to include specialists.

Officials announced the partnership on Wednesday.

Several other organizations in Rhode Island have entered into similar agreements as part of a broader effort to reform health care.

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