Anthem, UC Health form alliance to address state health care policy

Leena Butt/HIGHLANDER
Leena Butt/HIGHLANDER

The University of California Health announced the beginning of a new partnership with Anthem Blue Cross on Nov. 13. This new partnership, called the California Health Alliance, will address the development of health care policies in the state of California. Other goals seek to improve access and affordability to health care for in-state residents.

UC Health is composed of the five medical centers and 18 health professional schools in the UC system. The latter will include the UC Riverside School of Medicine, which received accreditation in early October. As one of many world leaders in scientific research, the UC will also spearhead any future research developments in the field of medicine for this partnership.

According to Dr. John Stobo, senior vice president of UC Health, the alliance will continue the state’s dedication to improved medical care. UC Health had 3.9 million outpatient visits, 290,000 emergency room visits and 144 inpatient admissions in the past year alone. According to Stobo, the joint venture will look to find new ways to serve the residents of the state even further.

“As two of the state’s leading organizations, this new affiliation has the ability to revolutionize California’s health care delivery system,” he said. “By coming together, we know we can develop meaningful research, policy and best practices that can be leveraged on a broader scale to help improve the state’s health care system and the health of the population at large.”

Making healthcare more accessible to residents of the state will also be a primary focus of the California Health Alliance. According to the California Healthcare Foundation, California is one of the most uninsured states in the nation. Nearly 21 percent of all Californians lack health care—totaling or 6.9 million—compared to 27.3 percent, or six million, of Texas residents.

One of the ways to achieve that goal will be by expanding the use of electronic delivery systems, such as telemedicine, to help improve the health status of patients. Telemedicine is a form of medical information exchange via electronic communication that is used to provide clinical health care from a distance.

Videoconferencing, transmission of still images and remote monitoring of vital signs are all forms of telemedicine. By expanding theses alternate delivery systems, the California Health Alliance hopes to provide more access to health care for residents living in the state’s rural areas.

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross spoke about the partnership and addressed the effects it would have on California’s residents. “We know that residents of the state look to a future that includes access to quality health care that is affordable,” she said in a statement. “By teaming with the University of California Health, we are bringing together some of the most innovative minds to help us achieve a common goal: to improve the health and wellness of California residents.”

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