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September 28, 2022

Penn Medicine seeks to expand value-based care by buying stake in Tandigm Health

The burgeoning health care model rewards providers based on outcomes and patient satisfaction – not the number of services rendered

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Penn Medicine Tandigm Health Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Penn Medicine has agreed to purchase a minority equity stake in Tandigm Health, a subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross. As part of the deal, Penn's primary care doctors will be added to Tandigm's network of physicians in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Penn Medicine's primary care doctors will be added to Tandigm Health's network of physicians as part of a new deal that expands Tandigm's value-based care services in Southeastern Pennsylvania. 

Penn's agreement to buy a minority stake in Tandigm, a subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross, also will give Tandigm physicians access to Penn's specialty services. The health system will gain representation on the Tandigm Board of Directors.

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. It takes effect Jan. 1. 

Value-based health care rewards providers based on health outcomes, patient satisfaction and their ability to control health care costs. It has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional models, like the fee-for-service approach. The Medicare Advantage movement has been at the forefront of this trend. 

Tandigm Health, founded in 2014, helps contracted primary care doctors better patient outcomes and reduce costs by taking efforts to prevent illnesses. The company currently has contracts with 400 primary care physicians in Southeastern Pennsylvania and helps manage the care of 110,000 patients.

To offer proactive care, Tandigm analyzes patient data to predict future diseases and identify people at high risk of chronic illnesses. Its technology then gives doctors suggestions on how they can improve the care of individual patients. Tandigm physicians are eligible for bonuses if they hit targets for patient satisfaction and quality of care, the Inquirer reported

Many of Tandigm's doctors are affiliated with community hospitals such as Chester County Hospital, Doylestown Hospital, Grand View Health and Redeemer Health. Tandigm also contracts with payors such as Independence, Humana and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Now, Penn is adding 275 of its primary care doctors to the Tandigm network. 

"In an increasingly complex health care environment where patients have choices about where to get care, we have to provide equitable access to the right care at the right place – which is often close to home," said Kevin Mahoney, CEO of Penn Medicine.

"Tandigm has built the tools and expertise to enable that. Working with Tandigm's network of primary care physicians and with local community hospitals, we can ensure that patients get access to the range of services that best meet their needs in the most convenient location. As the health care industry changes, partnerships like this are helping us to create the future – and stability – that both our patients and the health care providers who serve our community deserve."

Tandigm physicians help coordinate patient care with specialists, hospitals and other services. They have access to best treatment guidelines and patient education resources, as well as home-based nursing support for patients with chronic conditions. 

Tandigm's call center nurses work closely with primary care offices to ensure that patients get the best care at the most appropriate locations. For instance, Tandigm patients in Bucks County requiring oncology care can be referred to a Penn Medicine specialist operating at Grand View Hospital in Sellersville. In the future, Tandigm primary care providers also may have access to Penn Medicine advanced home care services and virtual off-hours coverage for patients.

Tandigm's value-based approach has reduce unnecessary hospital admissions by thousands, the company says. The need for care in skilled nursing facilities also has been reduced by more than 30%. 

"We are excited to move to the next generation of value-based care, expanding member access to the benefits of population health management and ensuring that they can access quality care where and when they need it," said Gregory E. Deavens, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "This means connecting every aspect of the healthcare system, from the primary care physician to the hospital and all the other critical care settings, including the home."

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