BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and Centerstone Launch Value-Based Behavioral Health Care Pilot

Initiative aims to support the wellbeing of members in therapy, on medication regimens



BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BlueCross) has partnered with Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in mental health and substance use disorder services, on a yearlong pilot designed to support high-quality, cost-effective outpatient mental health resources and treatment.

Centerstone’s middle and southeast Tennessee mental health facilities will participate in the program, which begins Jan. 1 and will focus on BlueCross members who are covered by an employer-sponsored plan or an individual plan.

“Physical health needs and mental health needs are one and the same. We know our members’ need for quality behavioral health care is greater than ever, and we’re proud to partner with Centerstone on this effort,” said Scott Pierce, BlueCross executive vice president and COO.

The new arrangement includes a regular review of key data for BlueCross members who access outpatient care at Centerstone. Questions the pilot will answer include:

  • How well are members adhering to their treatment plans?
  • How many members visit an ER or stay inpatient at a hospital for a behavioral health issue – and how often?
  • Are members staying on and refilling any medications they’ve been prescribed to manage their mental health conditions?
  • How well are members monitored for any known medication interactions or effects?

By reaching key quality and performance benchmarks for member care and outcomes, Centerstone can further support their ability to serve BlueCross members.

“This pilot is designed to encourage behavioral and physical health integration, expand BlueCross members’ access to quality care and hopefully reduce ER visits or hospital admissions related to mental health concerns,” said Ben Middleton, regional chief executive officer at Centerstone. “The ultimate goal is always to support the highest possible quality of life for each individual.”

“By partnering with Centerstone, we hope to gain a better understanding of how they’re serving our members and how we can best collaborate to support access and outcomes for those we serve,” said Pierce. “This is a first step, and we’re excited for what this initiative will teach us.”

The Centerstone pilot is part of BlueCross’ larger strategy to improve behavioral health care for members in many ways including increasing access to digital care options, expanding the number of in-network behavioral health providers, and aligning medical and behavioral health teams more closely.

About BlueCross® 
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.4 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at

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