Blue Shield of California now covers DPPs under Solera Network

By Heather Mack
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Chronic disease prevention and management company Solera Health has partnered with Blue Shield of California to offer Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPPs) to commercial health plan members.

Blue Shield members can access the Solera program –  which offers both digital and in-person programs through a network of 1,000 CDC- recognized DPPs, – at no extra cost through Wellvolution, Blue Shield’s wellness solution that provides tools and resources to encourage healthy lifestyle behavior.

“We were actively looking for someone to partner with to offer a DPP, as it is the most heavily researched and validated method for the prevention of a lifestyle disease,” Bryce Williams, vice president of wellbeing for Blue Shield, told MobiHealthNews. “When we came across Solera, it was a good fit philosophically, it’s shown to be efficacious, and we wanted to have a way of advocating for all of the small partners on the network because this is truly one of those cases where a rising tide lifts all boats."

Along with the shared credo on the efficacy of DPPs, Williams added that Solera was also chosen for their familiarity: BlueCross Blue Shield VenturePartners is an equity partner.

“For us, this is a real testament to our philosophy that giving members choices offers the opportunity for a best fit program to have better engagement and better outcomes,” Solera CEO Brenda Schmidt told MobiHealthNews. “We can support the natural innovation curve as more DPP partners enter the market, as Solera has the ability to understand which programs are performing and who they are performing for.”

Blue Shield of California is a big partnership for Solera, but the company also works with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado and in Florida. In August 2016, they began a yearlong program with Anthem Blue Cross in California, wherein Solera’s network is available to certain community groups such as Black Women for Wellness and Valley Jewish Community Center. To facilitate that project, Solera launched solera4me.com, a website that enables members to complete a quick assessment to determine whether they qualify for a program, match with a program provider and confirm plan eligibility. 

“This latest partnership is a big step because Blue Shield of California is a high performing network, it’s a lot of volume, and it’s open to commercial members so they don’t have to go through an employer to get a preventative service paid 100 percent,” said Schmidt.

While Williams said its not possible to validate the potential impact just yet, he anticipates it will be considerable: Blue Shield has just shy of 3 million members, and the California Department of Public Health reports 1.9 million adults in the state with type 2 diabetes, representing one out of every 15. The program actually began rolling out prior to the official announcement, and adoption has been steady.

“We just launched, and we’re already off to a nice start, averaging 100 enrollees per week who are meeting the criteria,” said Williams. “We’re happy with both how many of our providers are starting to roll it out and how early the adoption is with really little promotion on our part so far.”
 
Members can either be referred by a physician or go directly through the solera4me.com assessment route. The promotion is small for now, but Williams said they intend to ramp it up, first focusing on reaching all their members to inform them of the availability of the Solera network, then going through their employer clients and partnering with provider groups to raise awareness and enable references.