Alaska’s Most Comprehensive Orthopedic Practice Now In-Network, Preferred Providers with Blue Cross Blue Shield
Effective January 1, 2017, the 29 physicians of OrthoAlaska including Anchorage Fracture & Orthopedic Clinic and Orthopedic Physicians Alaska, became the newest in-network, preferred providers with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
This marks the largest group of orthopedic physicians in Alaska to contract for significantly reduced rates encompassing all orthopedic subspecialties. Services that have never been contracted before in the Anchorage municipality are included such as spine, trauma, rheumatology, extended injury walk-in hours to avoid costly ER visits and in-office services such as X-Ray, MRI, CT, infusion care, therapy, and orthotics.
The agreement affects thousands of Alaskans and their employers enrolled with Blue Cross Blue Shield by lowering insurance payments and patient’s out-of-pocket costs and providing timely access to care in Anchorage, Eagle River, and the Mat-Su Valley.
OrthoAlaska estimates that up to 80% of all orthopedic trauma care in Anchorage Hospitals will be covered by OrthoAlaska surgeons in 2017. As in-network preferred providers this will enable most Blue Cross Blue Shield patients to obtain in-network follow up care with the same group of surgeons who treat them in hospital emergency rooms.
“We have been acutely aware of Alaska’s rising healthcare costs and the need to do more to lower costs of orthopedic care and all facets of musculoskeletal care,” explains OrthoAlaska CEO Rick Watson. For many years, we have provided the majority of orthopedic care for the lowest paying government insurers including Medicare, Medicaid, VA, VA Choice, and TriCare.”
Watson also notes that OrthoAlaska’s three extended hours orthopedic injury walk-in clinics have saved patients, their employers, and all insurance companies millions of dollars each year for several years. In addition, OrthoAlaska supports athletic programs and events throughout the area providing athletic trainers in all the high schools and other locations free of charge to help prevent costly injuries.
OrthoAlaska has been working for many months on a variety of new cost-saving initiatives with self-funded employer groups, brokers and insurance companies and plans to do more. “We believe our agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield is a significant move in the right direction,” says Watson.
OrthoAlaska understands the dilemma many patients face when deciding whether to travel out of state for surgery. “We recognize that patients enrolled with other insurance companies may have no choice economically but to travel out of state for their care,” says Watson. “While the travel option may solve a temporary need, we know that most Alaskans prefer to receive care close to home with family support near-by and with physicians they know and trust, with whom they can readily follow up — without the inconvenience of travel during an uncomfortable time.”
“We also believe most Alaskans prefer to support the local economy as much as possible, especially when the economy is down, and even when it might cost a bit more, as many essential services do in Alaska. We hope our efforts will eventually make the decision to travel out of state unnecessary.”
“We look forward to a long-term relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield and their senior executives and are pleased to have been able to work together with them in a cordial and professional manner to achieve a win-win solution for the greater good of our community.”
More About OrthoAlaska
The integrated group combines the leadership, medical expertise, and patient care services of 29 physicians as well as numerous certified physician assistants with orthopedic surgical experience, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and athletic trainers. OrthoAlaska employs more than 350 employees across two locations in Anchorage, and one each in Eagle River and Wasilla.
The OPA and AFOC divisions, continue to accept Medicare, Medicaid, VA, VA Choice, Tricare and most private insurance.
Integration Helps Lower Costs
Rising costs, increased government regulation, healthcare reform, declining federal and state reimbursement, and the need to develop and demonstrate value-based care led OPA and AFOC to reconsider our individual health care delivery models. By integrating our practices as OrthoAlaska we are able to work collaboratively with each other to leverage our collective medical expertise, managerial capabilities, technology and other resources to reduce costs and further develop and improve:
- Clinical and surgical care pathways
- Cost management techniques
- Data driven care delivery systems
Patients have always have been and always will be our first priority. Our goal is to continually improve timely access to comprehensive musculoskeletal services, medical outcomes, personal service, and value.