Firefly Health Partners with Blue Cross Blue Shield
Firefly Health in Wellesley is not your typical medical practice. For one thing, the doctors and nurses do roughly half their visits using a video link. With the help of their own team of engineers, Firefly has built a mobile app that allows a patient to text back and forth with a doctor, schedule an appointment and keep tabs on their personalized health program. And each patient has access to one of the practice’s “health guides” who offers support around issues such as stress, weight loss, exercise and sleep problems. “We wanted to do something that was radically different,’’ says Dr. Andy Ellner one of Firefly’s young leaders. “We wanted to deliver a service that was lower cost, higher quality and provided a better experience to the patient.’’
There was just one problem: They needed an insurance plan that would reward Firefly for its innovative approach. That’s where Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts stepped in. The insurer has created a new contract that will allow the practice to earn bonuses if it is able to make good on its goal of providing quality care with lower costs. Firefly is the first small medical practice in the state to take advantage of the new value-based contract. As another Firefly founder, Dr. Jeff Greenberg put it. “This contract gives us the right incentives. It was a meeting of the minds.’’ Historically, a small practice like Firefly would have been paid under the traditional fee-for-service arrangements. But under its Blue Cross contract, the practice is given a pool of money for their patients and flexibility in how to use it. If the practice meets its targets for cost and quality, it can receive incentive payments. If it falls short, it earns less. Quality is measured by looking at a range of factors – everything from the percentage of patients receiving screening for breast cancer to patients’ experience of the care they receive.
Read more at Blue Cross Massachusetts