To Strengthen Primary Care, Blue Shield of California Joins Milbank Memorial Fund and BluePath Health to Improve Payments

Editor's note, Nov. 11: This post has been revised to add information about the organizations and events.

Blue Shield of California is committed to the vision of primary care as the foundation of a strong healthcare system that improves population outcomes and addresses inequities in health. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that without investment in primary care, the stark inequities in access and disparities in outcomes amplified during this national crisis will continue to widen.

Strengthening primary care requires aligned payment models that invest in care teams to improve people’s health instead of paying for the services that are provided. Blue Shield of California has demonstrated its commitment to investing in primary care through the development of its Primary Care Pay-for-Value Hybrid Payment Model. This increases upfront investments in primary care and population-based reimbursement, while limiting fee-for-service payments for services such as immunizations and wellness visits.

For primary care to be able to successfully transition to delivering whole-person health, other payers will need to join Blue Shield in taking this step toward payment innovation for primary care. It will be impossible to strengthen primary care or achieve health equity without sufficient multi-payer alignment.

To that end, Blue Shield of California, the Milbank Memorial Fund and BluePath Health are partnering on a three-part event series on primary care payment innovation to build will in the state of California to align payment with high-quality, accessible primary care that improves health equity and outcomes.

“We are delighted to partner in this incredibly important work that builds on the recent NASEM report 'Implementing High Quality Primary Care' and initiates essential dialogue around how we realize the vision of primary care as a common good in California,” said Christopher F. Koller, president of the Milbank Memorial Fund.

The three-part event series will take place over the coming months, with each event focused on a critical issue that ubiquitous access to primary care could have helped prevent. The topics are:

  1. Scaling Innovation in California: Supporting Access and Equity in Primary Care Through Payment
  2. Behavioral Health Access and Integration: Scaling Traditional and Digital Models of Care Through Payment Innovation
  3. Scaling Action on Social Determinants in Primary Care: How Payment Innovation Promotes Whole Person Health

“Over the course of three events, we will bring together innovators and experts from California and across the country who are leaders in restructuring and investing in community-based primary care that has the power to improve health equity and achieve population health,” said Shruti Kothari, director of Industry Initiatives at Blue Shield of California.

Timi Leslie, founder and president of BluePath Health, said, “We are excited to be able to support this event series on addressing health equity, integrating behavioral health and the social determinants of health through primary care payment and delivery innovation, as a neutral convener in California.”

The success of the events will be dependent onpayers, providers, and government participants that take the critical next step to work together to develop hybrid payment models that strengthen primary care and achieve equitable access and better outcomes for all.

Details of the first event and the incredible panel of speakers can be found here: Supporting Access and Equity in Primary Care Through New Payment Models

Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.6 million members, over 7,500 employees and more than $21 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid, and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $150 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last four years to have an impact on California communities. For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit Or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.


Milbank Memorial Fund is a nonpartisan foundation that works to improve population health by connecting leaders and decision makers with the best available evidence and experience. It does this work by: identifying, informing, and inspiring current and future state health policy leaders to enhance their effectiveness; convening state health policy decision makers on issues they identify as important to population health, particularly in areas related to primary care, aging, and health care costs; and publishing high-quality publications and The Milbank Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal of population health and health policy


BluePath Health services works closely with payers, providers, and government agencies to adopt new ways to deliver quality healthcare and manage successful technology transitions. We support our clients in preparing for policy and technology change, assessing organizational readiness for implementation, managing vendor relationships, and optimizing technology to support payer and provider workflow. BluePath Health has a track record of bringing together diverse stakeholders to achieve common goals.