Blue Cross Teaming Up With 11 Texas Institutions to Address Healthcare Costs

Richardson-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas will be teaming up with 11 universities to address the root causes of high cost of health care. The research institutions and insurer will be working on projects that focus on behavioral health, vaccine adherence, and analyzing usage data to improve efficiency. 

The collaboration is part of Blue Cross’ Affordability Cures initiative, and hopes to address care delivery, unequal distribution, and waste in the system.

“Failure to address access and affordability of health care has real consequences. We need to challenge the status quo by bringing transformative research and ideas to the table,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, president, BCBSTX via release. “By collaborating with a diverse set of institutions and researchers who are embedded in and understand the communities we’re serving, we can better identify and develop solutions that tackle high health care costs at its foundation.”

The Texas-based universities and research focus areas include, via release:

  • “Baylor College of Medicine: Examine whether programs encouraging more widespread peritoneal dialysis can improve the affordability of care.
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler: Examine the social and economic impact of undertreated mental health conditions of an underserved population in an underserved and rural region of the state.
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center: Evaluate social and economic impact of using SMART-D (Screening, Measurement and Assessment of Response to Treatment for Depression) – a model for depression screening and treatment in primary care that uses a point-of-care web-based application to facilitate measurement-based care for depression.
  • McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston: Examine reducing health care costs in older adults by de-prescribing unnecessary, harmful and costly medications.
  • Rice University: Evaluate the impact of laws and public policies on health cost and outcomes.
  • Texas Tech University: Examine the perception of healthcare providers, health insurance and the concept of health care and consumers’ perception of affordability in Texas. Research will put a specific focus on Latino populations.
  • University of Texas Dell Medical School: Increasing access to health care for low-access areas.
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson: Evaluate vertical integration on practice patterns and procedures to reduce unnecessary variation in health care utilization and hasten the delivery of more patient-centered, value-based care. Researchers will also explore the treatment-driven financial burden for a unique group of cancer patients whose long-term use of targeted oral anticancer medications (TOAMs) qualifies them as chronic cancer survivors and the use of telemedicine in lieu of office visits to decrease oncology costs.
  • Tarleton State University: Examine fraud detection in health claims data.
  • University of Texas at Tyler: Creation of master’s degree and PhD-level Health Administration programs to increase the health insurance knowledge of medical professionals, including a month-long residency rotation for medical residents.
  • University of Texas at Austin: Study aimed at improving adult vaccine delivery by optimizing clinical and health information technology processes in Austin/Travis counties.”