Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Minnesota Oncology Announce Five-Year Collaboration

August 22, 2019

Value-based agreement aims to deliver best-in-class results at lower overall cost

ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 22, 2019 — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) and Minnesota Oncology, a practice in The US Oncology Network, today announced a five-year agreement that will change the way cancer care is paid for and managed in order to deliver optimal health outcomes at lower costs.

This collaboration, which takes effect September 1, 2019, will make Blue Cross and Minnesota Oncology jointly accountable for the overall cost of cancer care provided to Blue Cross members through a value-based risk arrangement. The terms of the arrangement are based on the principle that effective outcomes for patients are determined by the quality of care provided – not the quantity.

“This transformation from a volume- to value-based payment model is driven by our shared goal of delivering the best possible outcomes at a lower cost to cancer patients, many of whom struggle to afford their care, even with insurance,” said Craig Samitt, MD, MBA, president and CEO at Blue Cross. “We applaud Minnesota Oncology for stepping up to become part of the solution to the rising cost of healthcare in our state. I am confident this agreement will lead to a better care experience for the many Minnesotans impacted by this terrible disease each year.”

With an enhanced focus on patient-centric healthcare, clinical staff at Minnesota Oncology will offer care coordination services on an individualized basis for Blue Cross members. This approach will help to ensure that the comprehensive care model already in place consistently delivers the best possible outcomes by providing appropriate, medically necessary care at the right time and place.

The five-year collaboration will include an agreed-upon set of quality metrics based on the latest scientific research and proven clinical guidelines. Minnesota Oncology will be responsible for ensuring continued alignment with evidence-based best practices and, as a result, will no longer be required to secure prior authorization from Blue Cross for coverage of selected services that are typically associated with high rates of overutilization.

“Cancer patients face a big challenge, and we remain committed to providing comprehensive care including state-of-the-art therapies, precision medicine, genetic testing, palliative care and access to clinical trials,” said John Schwerkoske, MD, president and medical oncologist at Minnesota Oncology. “We are very excited to collaborate with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to help make sure patients with cancer receive high-quality and high-value care in a community setting, close to home.”

In addition to physicians and nurses, social workers, nutrition therapists and genetic counselors all play an important role in Minnesota Oncology’s comprehensive care model, which also includes remote symptoms monitoring, advance care planning, palliative care and survivorship.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.

About Minnesota Oncology

Minnesota Oncology is dedicated to providing compassionate care for various types of cancer and blood disorders in 12 convenient Twin Cities metro locations as well as several satellite locations. Minnesota Oncology provides high-quality cancer care in a community setting, allowing patients to stay close to the comfort of home and family. Its mission is to combine the strength of hope with the power of science, one patient at a time.

Minnesota Oncology is a practice in The US Oncology Network (The Network). This collaboration unites the practice with more than 1,200 independent physicians dedicated to delivering value-based, integrated care to patients — close to home. Through The Network, these independent doctors come together to form a community of shared expertise and resources dedicated to advancing local cancer care and to delivering better patient outcomes. The Network is supported by McKesson Corporation, whose coordinated resources and infrastructure allow doctors in The Network to focus on the health of their patients, while McKesson focuses on the health of their practices. Minnesota Oncology also participates in clinical trials through US Oncology Research, which has played a role in more than 90 FDA-approved cancer therapies, approximately one-third of all cancer therapies approved by the FDA to date.

PR Contact

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Jim McManus
(651) 662-2882

Minnesota Oncology
Colleen Schwab
(651) 262-4243

The US Oncology Network
Claire Crye
(281) 825-9927