Physicians And Hospitals Work To Save Lives, Improve Care And Reduce
Partnerships among physicians, hospitals and Blue
Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) are saving lives, improving
patient care and reducing costs in a newly published partnerships
report from the Blues.
"These partnerships demonstrate the powerful,
positive impact created by hospitals, physicians and the Blues to truly
transform healthcare in Michigan," said Daniel J. Loepp, Blues
president and CEO.
Titled "Partners in Healthcare: 2008 Partnerships
Update," the report highlights several areas of partnerships such as
Value Partnerships – innovative collaborations among
physicians, hospitals and the Blues to improve healthcare quality,
value and efficiency; work under way through the Michigan Health
& Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center; activities
supporting free healthcare clinics in the state; and technology
partnerships aimed at making administrative functions more efficient.
Several partnership initiatives have earned
acclaim – most recently from the National Business Coalition
on Health – for providing a healthcare industry model for
partnerships with up-front feedback and collaboration from physicians,
nurses and hospitals.
"The partnership model in place enables
participating hospitals, physician groups and other healthcare
professionals to work together to achieve better, more affordable
healthcare," said Dr. Thomas Simmer, BCBSM senior vice president and
chief medical officer. "We know many health plans have
pay-for-performance programs. But we don’t know any that has
instituted a model where doctors and hospitals drive the design and
execution of programs with the scope and statewide impact as the
programs operating in the state of Michigan."
The report cites a Value Partnership initiative
that has improved care for patients undergoing angioplasty. The
initiative, known as the BCBSM Cardiovascular Consortium, has reduced
hospital deaths by 27 percent and heart attacks by 19 percent, with
savings estimated at $8 million annually statewide.
The initiative inspired the creation of additional
similar partnership programs to improve care in general/vascular
surgery, bariatric surgery, cardiac surgery and breast cancer
The MHA Keystone Center is another example of
cooperation between the Blues and hospitals to improve care for state
residents. In 2006, BCBSM and the MHA announced an agreement for the
Bluesto fund new quality and safety initiatives for hospitals to be
coordinated by the MHA Keystone Center. Work by hospitals across the
state is under way for a MHA Keystone initiative aimed at reducing
The report also looks at the Blues’
Physician Group Incentive Program, another Value Partnerships
initiative to improve quality and efficiency and eliminate unnecessary
healthcare costs. The program encourages improvements in healthcare
delivery, such as coordinated disease management programs for patients,
and also produced $7 million in savings by instituting a cost-effective
The report also spotlights the shared goal of the
Blues and physicians throughout the state to improve access to
healthcare through the support of activities such as free clinics at
Detroit’s St. Frances Cabrini Clinic. The clinic receives
funding through Blues’ grant programs.
Cabrini is one of 32 free clinics statewide that
received a Blues grant in 2007 as part of the company’s
social mission to improve access to healthcare. Since 2005, the Blues
have provided $3 million in support of Michigan’s free
Another area of partnership involves technology.
The Blues have created new tools to help physician offices track and
process medical claims and are working with physician offices who have
become early adopters of the technology.
Address: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, 600
E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226; (313) 225-9000, www.bcbsm.com.