Premier launches Contigo Health to fill gaps in hospital-payer-employer relationship

Thirty-five health systems have signed letters of intent to participate in Contigo Health, a new company from Premier that links health systems with large, national employers and their health plans.

Contigo Health is a subsidiary of Premier, the Charlotte, N.C.-based data, supply chain and consulting company. Powered by the Premier member network, data and technology, Contigo aims to equip clinicians with information about patients' existing ancillary benefits during visits and integrate evidence-based clinical programs into their care processes.

Contigo Health is led by Steven Nelson, president, and Jonathan Slotkin, MD, chief medical officer. Mr. Nelson spent time as COO of the diversification arm of Indianapolis-based Anthem and spent more than 10 years with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh. Dr. Slotkin has led patient-centered initiatives with some of the largest employers in the country and will continue to care for patients as a neurosurgeon at Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger in this new role.

Ancillary benefits cover a range of services, including durable medical equipment, comprehensive tobacco cessation and physical therapy. The two leaders said it is difficult, if not impossible, for physicians and members of the care team to learn about the ancillary benefits a patient has available or covered through their employer. Contigo Health sets out to change that and paint a richer picture of patients' employer-sponsored health coverage to providers as they make decisions at the point of care.

"No provider has a way of knowing the benefits a specific employer offers for the patient in front of them," Dr. Slotkin told Becker's. "I don't know of any example where somebody at point of care has resources to learn that information. If we all want to fix healthcare, let's start by tapping the free resources that are out there that none of us are using."

Participating Contigo Health hospitals and clinicians will also receive clinical insights through an EMR-integrated, proprietary decision support interface. "Within that EMR infrastructure, we are actually putting in quality practices to hardwire in real-time care delivery and point-of-care messaging," said Mr. Nelson.

With this information, employers and health systems will be able to scale the care delivery redesign that worked in one market to others for large, national companies with production plans, offices or hubs across the U.S. Essentially, Contigo Health sets out to empower employers and health systems to scale what worked at one "center of excellence" or through one employer-provider partnership to other markets and locations for improved quality and lower total cost of care.

Together, the health systems that have inked letters of intent to participate represent more than 440 hospitals. "We think the innovative employers and provider systems are absolutely the two groups most empowered to fix U.S. healthcare," said Dr. Slotkin. "There are almost no other parties that have the aligned incentives to actually improve it."

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