CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), the region’s largest nonprofit health care company, and the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) announced a new five-year partnership to address access and quality of care for the state’s most vulnerable populations.

The work from this initiative will focus on population health, which is an approach to care aiming to improve the health outcomes for entire patient populations while also improving the health care experience and effectively managing costs. This includes enhanced support and focused care for the highest-risk patients (i.e. individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, lung disease, health inequities) to help them maintain a high quality of life through more efficient and effective management of their health.

As part of this effort, CareFirst BlueChoice will acquire University of Maryland Health Advantage (UM Health Advantage), a Medicare dual-eligible special needs health plan, and University of Maryland Health Partners, a Medicaid Managed Care Organization. Combined, UMMS’ Health Plans serve 55,000 Maryland residents each year.

At the core of this partnership is the development of a jointly operated population health management team which will allow UMMS and CareFirst to collaborate on innovative care models and related resources, better enabling both organizations to focus on what they do best. Specifically, the work will bring new approaches to using shared data that drive improved population health outcomes by supporting the identification and delivery of the most effective care and support for vulnerable populations.