MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee is opening up its own primary care centers in Middle and West Tennessee to serve Blue Cross Blue Shield patients. Four of the eight clinics are planned for the Memphis area.
BCBST is a minority partner in the joint venture with global health group Sanitas USA who will operate and manage the centers. The four locations in Shelby County are slated for downtown Memphis, Germantown, Lakeland, and Whitehaven.
The clinics will have extended hours and offer same-day appointments.
“We all are working closely together on how we help to address rising cost of care,” said Kevin Woods, Memphis Market President of BCBST.
Woods said the effort is aimed at streamlining services and finding health problems in patients sooner.
“We’re seeing a number of customers, but if we can do preventative care we can identify the challenges that our members are having early on then we can help reduce the cost of care but also improve that member experience,” he said.
A new report out Friday by the non-profit healthcare research group Kaiser Family Foundation revealed healthcare is the key campaign issue among total 2020 voters at 26% of the electorate. It is also a priority for 28% of swing voters.
The survey showed 36% of Democratic voters said healthcare is the most important issue in their vote choice, and when Republicans were asked about healthcare 24% said their main concern is its cost.
“Our system today is broken, and there is no question about it. And the biggest issue that drives it all is money but not necessarily quality care,” said Dr. Scott Morris, with the Church Health Center.
Morris founded the Church Health Center in Memphis in 1987. The faith-based non-profit provided services to 18,573 people in 2019 who had little to no access to healthcare.
Morris said climbing costs affect the insured and especially, the uninsured.
“As much as we spend, our money is not solving our healthcare issues. We need a bigger plan for what it means to live a healthy life,” he said.
BCBST said their parent company has had success with other medical clinics of this type in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The addresses for the four sites in Shelby County have not yet been announced.