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Published June 08, 2012, 04:09 PM

Altru Signs Contract With BCBS

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Altru Health System has signed a new contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Altru Health System has signed a new contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

The contract is aimed to improve the quality of care and reduce health care costs for patients at the same time.

The total cost care contract is an effort by the insurance provider and hospital to reimburse medical facilities with an emphasis on quality of care rather than the number of services available to a patient.

But Altru doesn't plan on cutting any service to patients at all.

The contract is also aimed to help lower member health care costs which could amount over the years to save patients hundreds of thousands of dollars *if* Altru can bend the cost curve.

The contract started on January 1 of this year, and the hospital has added chronic care coordinators and health coaches, free for patients to assist in better care.

This is Altru's biggest contract for cost care in terms of volume.

"Right now the initial objectives are to lower the cost of care a half percent per year over the next couple of years as we try out this agreement as an accountable care organization," Altru CFO Dwight Thompson said.

Patients will start to see a difference once insurance contracts are renewed or at the end of the contract year.

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