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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Groundbreaking Agreement Among Health Care Providers, Insurer, University Leverages Resources to Stabilize Cost, Offer Quality Care

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 10, 2017) – A groundbreaking agreement was signed today among the University of Central Missouri (UCM), Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC), Saint Luke’s Health System (SLHS) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC). It opens the door to consider opportunities to leverage resources and services to establish a quality-driven, patient-centered and outcomes-focused healthcare delivery strategy that pursues goals that include stabilizing overall health care costs and creating a medical home serving UCM faculty, staff, students and their dependents.

WMMC MOU signing
Among those joining in the Memorandum of Understanding signing event among University of Central Missouri (UCM), Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC), Saint Luke’s Health System (SLHS) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) representatives were, from left, Gus Wetzel II, UCM Board of Governors president; Don Sipes, vice president of regional services for Saint Luke's Health System; Ron Rowe, senior vice president sales and marketing, Blue KC; Charles Ambrose, UCM president; Darinda Reberry, MSN, RN, president and chief executive officer of WMMC; Rita White, chair of the WMMC Board of Trustees; Dan Houx, state representative, 54th District ; Dean Dohrman, state representative, 51st District.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed during a ceremony at WMMC, Gay Street and Burkarth Road, Warrensburg.  Participants included Darinda J. Reberry, MSN, RN, president and chief executive officer of WMMC; Charles Ambrose, UCM president; Don Sipes, vice president of regional services for Saint Luke’s Health System; and Ron Rowe, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. Members of the UCM Board of Governors and the WMMC Board of Trustees also were among those attending the event.

“As university health care costs continue to climb at the rate of $1 million annually, UCM must explore new opportunities to help reduce the financial impact on the institution and its employees and their families while still providing high-quality patient care and wellness activities,” Ambrose said. “By collaborating with Western Missouri Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Health System, and Blue KC, we will take a team-based approach to addressing these issues in a way that is not being done at any other colleges and universities in this state. We look forward to pursuing the possibilities with these outstanding organizations to make a positive difference in our campus community in a way that other institutions will want to duplicate.”

“Western Missouri Medical Center has taken a bold but crucial move to develop an Integrated Community Care model to provide coordinated, high-quality care and reduce health care costs for our greater community,” Reberry said. “We’re proud to be the first choice for patients associated with the university program and for the university to be our first partner in this employee wellness hub to building a longstanding foundation for the health of our community.”

Overall objectives stated in the agreement include:

WMMC’s responsibilities, under the agreement, include working with the other parties to utilize its facilities, primary care physician network and administrative capabilities to fulfill inpatient and outpatient facility needs for patients who participate in the delivery program developed through the MOU. UCM will use its campus to facilitate the development of a medical clinic through which its faculty, staff, students and dependents who are associated with the university health plan will receive health care services. Additionally, Saint Luke’s East Hospital will work with the MOU partners to fulfill the health care needs of UCM patients who participate in the program as SLHS continues its commitment to support the health care needs of Warrensburg and Johnson County through its many primary and specialty health care providers.

“In addition to its broader care management throughout the Kansas City region, Saint Luke’s has years of experience in working collaboratively with Western Missouri Medical Center and the local medical community, including sharing a comprehensive clinical affiliation relationship.  We have many common approaches to care management and we are encouraged that this experience will provide valuable resources in working toward the vision that Dr. Ambrose has laid out,” Sipes said.

Under the agreement, Blue KC also will help all parties in the MOU to understand where cost savings can be achieved in the delivery of health care and types of actions that can be performed by each organization to enhance patient care and mitigate the cost of care.

“Blue KC is committed to providing affordable access to care. We’re always looking for innovative ways to transform health care and partnerships like this will allow us to better serve our members and the Kansas City community,” Rowe said.

The MOU signing follows action taken by the UCM Board of Governors Aug. 25 to include among its medical insurance options for employees a new customized plan known as the Exclusive Provider Option (EPO), which also is groundbreaking in higher education. The EPO offers a strong benefit at a lower cost for employees while also providing long-term financial benefits for the employee and the university. A component that is extremely rare in the health care insurance arena, it includes guaranteed rates with no cost increases for the university and for its employees for the three consecutive years, beginning in 2018.