|Tennessee Health Plan Develops New Quality Measures
Screenings for childhood immunizations and monitoring of
cardiovascular conditions have been added to BlueCross BlueShield of
Tennessee’s existing online suite of eight preventive quality
measures that are used in assessing the quality of care members receive
from their doctors.
The new measures are designed to help prevent diseases
such as measles, mumps and rubella, and to better manage coronary
artery/heart disease, the health plan said. According to Dr. Tom
Lundquist, vice president of performance measures and improvement for
the health plan, the measures were selected by BlueCross, and reviewed
by an advisory panel of physicians, based on their ability to reach
crucial segments of the population and positively impact their health
"These newest additions to our physician quality and
cost tool help expand the available information that our members can
access in making important decisions about their healthcare," said
Lundquist noted that as recently as 2009, the U.S.
experienced an outbreak of measles, a highly-contagious disease that
has been technically eradicated in America for nearly a decade. "In
selecting the immunizations as a quality measure, we realized that the
healthcare community must remain vigilant in ensuring children receive
the proper vaccinations to stop these preventable diseases," he added.
The immunization quality indicator pulls information
from the State of Tennessee’s immunization registry and
supplements BlueCross’ externally-validated claims data which is
used to assess physician quality.
Statewide Physicians Panel Helps Collaboration
Each quality measure contains symbols to indicate
whether a doctor is above or below the specialty average for a specific
measure, officials said.
The BlueCross Physician Quality and Cost Transparency
program rolled out in the fall of 2008. Working in close collaboration
with a statewide physician panel and other parties, such as state
anTennessee Health Plan Develops New Quality Measuresdcounty medical
associations, BlueCross initially identified and introduced eight
preventive quality measures:
- chlamydia screening for women;
- colorectal cancer screenings;
- cervical cancer screening;
- HBA1C testing for diabetes;
- LDL monitoring for diabetes, monitoring for diabetic nephropathy; and
- diabetic retinal exams.
Since the program launch, the physician quality and cost
tool has been visited nearly 50,000 times by BlueCross members seeking
data on the quality and cost of the medical treatments and services
they receive from their doctors.
"It’s our hope that as we increase the number of
quality measurements in conjunction with cost data, that more of our
members will take advantage of this effective consumer tool," Lundquist
stated. "And that their increased awareness and engagement will lead
them to better health and lower future costs."
Address: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, P.O Box 182277, Chattanooga, TN 37422-7277; www.bcbst.com.