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Vivity Provider Alliance Surpasses Enrollment Goal

Anthem Blue Cross created this rival of Kaiser Permanente

Vivity, an integrated network of seven health systems in southern California, has enrolled 24,000 members, surpassing the enrollment of 15,000 it projected before launch just a year ago.

Officials at Anthem Blue Cross (a founder of the new network) say approximately 60% to 70% of Vivity’s members used to belong to Kaiser Permanente. In addition to Cedars-Sinai, Vivity's network is made up of Good Samaritan Hospital and UCLA Health, both in Los Angeles; Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena; MemorialCare Health System, Fountain Valley; PIH Health, Whittier; and Torrance (Calif.) Memorial Medical Center.

According to Modern Healthcare, Vivity’s progress suggests it is off to “a reasonable start,” said Erin Trish, an assistant research professor at the University of Southern California who studies health insurance competition and regulation. “As time unfolds, employers will have a little more sense of understanding how effective this model is in terms of controlling costs and producing high-quality outcomes for their employees.”

The biggest obstacle Vivity faces is convincing people who are happy with Kaiser that they should consider other options, Trish said. “Perhaps people who have been in a Kaiser plan don't have experience at these other hospitals. Now, whether or not these are the hospitals that they ultimately want to go to, time will tell.”

Last year the health systems and Anthem said they would initially rely on Anthem's claims records to coordinate care. They recently hired Accenture to build a software system that will allow clinicians to see patient data anywhere in the network of independent providers, which don't all use the same information technology platforms.  Vivity will only be sustainable  if Anthem is able to use the “clinically integrated platform we are going to create” to deliver more efficient care, said  Paige Rothermel, Anthem's vice president and general manager for California large group plans. “If Vivity is affordable, it will continue to do well.”

The technology will allow Vivity to reduce waste such as redundant laboratory tests ordered by different doctor's offices, she said. “It is not necessarily operational efficiency as much as it is using big data to reduce how much care is delivered.” 

The California Public Employees' Retirement System was among the first employers to go live with Vivity, on January 1, 2015. So far, only about 2,500, or 1%, of the approximately 226,200 actively working CalPERS members in Los Angeles and Orange counties, have chosen an Anthem health maintenance organization through which they access the Vivity network, compared with more than 87,000 enrolled in Kaiser Permanente plans in the two counties. 

Anthem and the health systems participating in Vivity agreed to share financial risk for the network's patients, with employers paying a capitated fee for each enrollee. Employers that signed up for it won't know until June 2016 or later whether it has proven cost-effective and otherwise competitive.

Source: Modern Healthcare, October 23, 2015.

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