Walgreens In Deal With Tech Firm Pearl Health To Enhance Work With Primary Care Doctors

Walgreens has partnered with the technology company Pearl Health to assist primary care doctors with software and services they need in the move away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care.

It’s not uncommon for doctor practices, especially small primary care offices with few physicians, to need assistance with the shift away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care. Increasingly, the majority of payments doctors get from health insurance companies comes via value-based care arrangements so technology needs are great if they want to be paid.

“Walgreens is committed to being the partner of choice for providers and health systems looking to transition quickly and effectively to value-based care and improve outcomes in the communities they serve,” said John Driscoll, executive vice president and president, U.S. Healthcare, Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Our partnership with Pearl Health allows us to reach more communities faster and enable comprehensive, affordable care that improves long-term health outcomes and fosters healthier communities.”

Value-based pay is tied to health outcomes, performance and quality of care of medical-care providers who contract with insurers via alternative payment vehicles like accountable care organizations (ACOs), a delivery system that rewards doctors and hospitals for working together to improve quality and rein in costs. In these models, doctors and hospitals take on more risk that they can streamline the care, improve quality and eliminate bureaucratic inefficiencies.

The partnership with Pearl Health comes less than two weeks after Walgreens Boots Alliance chief executive officer Roz Brewer resigned. Walgreens is now looking for a CEO with “deep healthcare experience.”

Meanwhile, Walgreens rivals, including CVS Health, Amazon and Walmart, are gobbling up medical care providers, hiring physicians and nurse practitioners and looking to expand their primary care operations as well.

The deal with Pearl Health could help Walgreens as the drugstore giant establishes closer relationships with physicians. Already, Walgreens has spent billions of dollars to acquire a large and growing stake in VillageMD, which operates doctor practices across the country, including clinics attached to Walgreens stores.

“Our technology-powered value-based care model aligns seamlessly with the healthcare services Walgreens offers, particularly in the most vulnerable communities,” Pearl Health chief executive officer Michael Kopko said. “With a focus on proactive, coordinated care, we’ll collaborate to deliver a better solution to providers and ultimately deliver high- quality services to patients, while managing their care efficiently. We’re very excited about the implications of this partnership for patients in Medicare and beyond.”

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