News

October 22, 2010

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Announces Quality Blue

Insurance leader is the first in Louisiana to adopt a national model of physician recognition for improving quality of care

Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Oct. 22, 2010 – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (BCBSLA) has launched the Quality Blue initiative, a program to identify and reward physicians and healthcare providers who deliver high-value quality care that meets national standards of excellence.

Quality Blue, which incorporates the standards of the nationally recognized Bridges to Excellence (BTE) program, offers financial incentives to doctors who achieve certified recognition of quality in diabetes care and cardiac care, as well as smart office practices in primary care that produce better outcomes for patients.

Bridges to Excellence is a program of the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, a non-profit organization that encourages quality of care by physicians and in physician practices. BTE promotes the delivery of safe, effective and efficient care by rewarding healthcare providers through financial and other incentives.

Quality Blue recognizes those physicians who demonstrate a model of care that is thorough and puts patients in control of their healthcare, as evidenced in a commitment to performing comprehensive patient assessments and continual reassessments, educating patients and sharing decision-making with patients about their treatment options.

Quality Blue and Bridges to Excellence are programs built around the “medical home model,” an approach to providing comprehensive primary care that facilitates partnerships between individual patients and their personal providers, and, when appropriate, the patient’s family. Numerous peer-reviewed studies in recent years suggest that the medical home model, with an emphasis on improved quality of care, can reduce emergency visits, hospitalizations and the overall cost of healthcare.

Physicians and practices who attain the achievements through the Quality Blue program may be eligible for financial incentives on a per-patient basis. The program will run through 2012, during which time physicians will be rewarded annually for achievements recognized under the program.

“Certification is data-driven,” says Dr. Dwight Brower, interim chief medical officer for BCBSLA.  “So we really do know how often doctors are giving the most thorough care to patients — the kind of care that keeps them healthy, keeps them out of the hospital and keeps the costs of healthcare down for everyone.”

The announcement was made at the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum’s (LHCQF) Fall 2010 Quality Summit, a meeting of national experts and leaders in improving quality of patient care.

“The Quality Forum applauds Blue Cross’ efforts,” said Cindy Munn, LHCQF’s Executive Director. “This new program aligns closely with the mission of LHCQF. The patient-centered medical home model is one of our major initiatives, and we see this model of integrated, collaborative care as essential to improving quality and health outcomes for Louisiana residents. The medical home model is vital to national and state health care reform efforts.”

Mike Reitz, CEO of BCBSLA, says, “Better quality care in the physician’s office is one of the most important things Blue Cross advocates on behalf of its members. Incentive programs like Quality Blue are beneficial in helping physicians and practices improve performance. It also focuses them on preventive medicine, which is one of the most important factors in patient care.”

Butch Passman, President and CEO of the Louisiana Business Group on Health, said his organization congratulates Blue Cross “for once again moving the market forward in a meaningful way to deliver higher-quality, more cost-effective patient care in Louisiana.”

Passman said, “We look forward to working with Blue Cross in helping all parties understand the added value Bridges to Excellence brings to the table. Looking for ways to emphasize cooperation over competition is the kind of leadership we have grown to expect from Mike Reitz and his team at Blue Cross."

“We at the Louisiana Business Group on Health wish Blue Cross the success they deserve for committing to this initiative and offer our continued support for efforts like these to find market-based approaches to healthcare redesign,” Passman said.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana(BCBSLA) is the oldest and largest Louisiana-based health insurance company. BCBSLA is a not-for-profit, fully taxed mutual insurer, owned by policyholders and governed by a local Board of Directors. BCBSLA strives to be an advocate for its members by working to improve quality of care and reduce costs. Quality Blue is a significant step toward achieving better care for Louisiana by recognizing those physicians and healthcare providers who strive for excellence in care.

BCBSLA provides group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to more than 1.3 million members. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana employs more than 1,800 Louisianians who are committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Learn more on the company’s website at www.bcbsla.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bluecrossla. Follow Blue Cross on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCBSLA and CEO Mike Reitz at www.twitter.com/MikeReitzCEO

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