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CDPHP, Independent Health form ‘strategic alliance’

By Eric Reinhardt


Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP), an Albany–based health insurer with subscribers in Central New York, on May 20 announced a “strategic alliance” with a health insurer based in Western New York.

CDPHP will work with Independent Health, which is headquartered in the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville, to “explore opportunities to enhance their efforts to further transform health care in their respective communities, while remaining independent,” CDPHP said in a news release.

The two health insurers are “non-competing,” regional health plans serving different geographic markets, according to the Albany–based insurer.

In Central New York, its service area includes Broome, Chenango, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, and Tioga counties, according to the CDPHP website.

CDPHP lost more than $43 million while generating more than $2 billion in revenue in 2013, according to financial figures posted on its website.

CDPHP incurred the loss despite increasing its enrollment from nearly 410,000 in 2012 to more than 447,000 in 2013.

The alliance will allow the insurers to build “innovative” products, tools, and services for providers, employers, and individuals from Albany to Buffalo, Dr. John Bennett, president and CEO of CDPHP, said in the news release. 

The agreement is “not a merger, but a unique alliance” to exchange and implement ideas and strategies that are “essential” to continue driving sustainable health care, Dr. Michael Cropp, president and CEO of Independent Health, said in the release. 

“The learning and discipline that will come from working together will greatly accelerate our respective abilities to meet the needs of our provider partners and our customers,” Cropp said.

As they work together, the two nonprofits are hoping to develop tools to help health-care providers manage their entire patient populations and provide patient care in the “most efficient manner,” CDPHP said.

They’ll also partner with physicians through technology and clinical advancements with a focus on patient care at the “right level of cost.”

They also want to invest in new technology to provide consumers easy access to the information and services they need to navigate the “often fragmented” health-care system, CDPHP said.   

The nonprofits will also work to develop new products focused on the consumer, “rather than the delivery system,” the Albany–based health insurer said.

CDPHP and Independent Health have maintained a “close relationship” for nearly 30 years.  They’re aiming to focus on “innovative” ways to achieve the “Triple Aim,” which includes better health, better care, and lower costs.

“We believe the alliance will help us support consumers as they utilize and navigate increasingly prevalent high-deductible health plans,” said Dr. Cropp. “It will also drive partnerships with providers as we move rapidly to value-based payments and high-performance networks.”

The effort is geared toward providing the two companies with the resources most nonprofit health plans “struggle to achieve” so they can provide better service and products, at a lower cost to customers, said Dr. Bennett. 

“It will advance the goals of accountable and affordable care as envisioned by the passage of the Affordable Care Act and will assure upstate New Yorkers of continued value-driven, patient-centric health care,” Bennett added.

Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, community-based nonprofit health plan that offers health-insurance plans to almost 450,000 members in 24 counties throughout New York. 

Independent Health serves nearly 375,000 members.       

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