ROCHESTER, NY (03/23/2010)(readMedia)-- Forty-eight upstate New York hospitals earned more than $22 million in quality improvement incentive payments from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield as part of the health insurer's Hospital Performance Incentive Program. Launched in 2004, the program is collaboration between the health insurer and each participating hospital and uses nationally recognized standards and guidelines to address specific areas for improvement.
"Hospitals in the program should be applauded for putting some of our payments to them at risk by adding accountability for quality to their business relationship with our health plan," said Carrie Frank, vice president of quality and health informatics at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. "By tying our payments to them to improvements in health outcomes and patient safety, we're helping assure that our members and all others get the best quality care and the most value for their health care dollars."
Having a financial incentive to improve quality has resulted in participating hospitals consistently scoring higher on CMS Quality Measures than hospitals whose payments are not at-risk. CMS is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is the US federal agency which administers Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program.
"Working with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield complements our robust quality improvement program at Upstate University Hospital," said James Legault, the Syracuse hospital's director of clinical practice analysis and infection control. "The ability to combine our goals with Excellus BCBS works well for both organizations."
"The HPIP program has helped us focus our efforts and seek opportunities to improve patient care," said Joseph Salipante, MD, FACP, Vice President for Medical Affairs, Chief Medical Officer Unity Health System in Rochester.
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield's Hospital Performance Incentive Program evaluates participating hospitals on 280 different performance measures. Target outcomes are jointly agreed upon by each hospital and the health insurer using benchmarks established by the CMS, the Leapfrog Group, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and others.
"We've seen a great deal of support for this program from our hospital partners," said Frank, noting that it helped many of the hospitals accelerate quality improvement initiatives that had been planned but not yet implemented.
The incentive program targets four areas for improvement:
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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.7 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com.