The hospital quality program of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association has been successful in improving patient outcomes and reducing costs, the association announced at a news conference.
Blue Distinction, launched in June 2006, has named 800 programs at 650 hospitals in 45 states as certified centers in four categories: cardiac care, bariatric surgery, transplants, and complex and rare cancers.
A study, conducted by WellPoint subsidiary HealthCore, indicated a 26% lower readmission rate for bypass surgery and 37% lower readmission rate for outpatient angioplasty within 30 days for Blue Distinction hospitals compared to non-Blue Distinction facilities. Costs for bypass procedures at Blue Distinction hospitals were 5% lower than nonparticipating facilities, and costs for outpatient angioplasty were 12% lower for Blue Distinction hospitals, with a 90-day episode of care. The data was based on an analysis of claims for more than 41,000 patients covered by 24 Blues plans.
US Bancorp now requires its 87,000 covered workers, retirees and family members to receive treatment for these conditions at certified Blue Distinction hospitals because the Minneapolis-based banking giant saw better outcomes and cost trends, said Ed Caillier, vice president of benefit design at US Bancorp.
The Blues association says it will expand Blue Distinction to include spine surgery, knee and hip replacements, common cancers and other transplants in the next few years. -- by Rebecca Vesely
What do you think? Post a comment on this article and share your opinion with other readers. Submit your comments to Modern Healthcare Online at [email protected]. Please be sure to include your hometown and state, along with your organization and title.