authors Kara Hartnett
In a joint venture with a South American company, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee will open eight primary care medical centers throughout Middle Tennessee and Memphis, the Tennessean first reported Thursday morning.
The partnership between the state’s largest insurer and Sanitas Medical Centers, a subsidiary of Bogotá, Colombia-based Keralty, extends an existing partnership between the companies to provide primary care services in other states, including Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey and Texas. BlueCross affiliates has also formed partnerships with other care providers to open clinics across the country, namely North Memorial Health in Minnesota.
The care centers will provide lab testing, women’s health screening and imaging screening services such as X-rays and ultrasounds, reports the Tennessean. They will not accept commercial insurance outside of the BCBS network but will accept self-pay patients and Medicaid and Medicare.
BlueCross tapping into the clinical market comes at a time of increased demand due to an impending physician shortage. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will see a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032. BlueCross said the partnerships are an opportunity to “reinvent the relationship between health care providers and insurers,” which they claim will reduce hassle for consumers. BlueCross Tennessee covers more than 3.5 million members at more than 29,000 health care providers.
The Tennessee clinics will be in Brentwood, Murfreesboro, East and South Nashville, Memphis, Germantown (near Memphis), Lakeland and Whitehaven. They are slated to open this fall.