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Local hospitals share millions through Excellus program

Millions was shared between several local hospitals and health centers in the Finger Lakes and Central New York, according to officials with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

Thirty-six upstate New York hospitals and health centers, including eight in the Finger Lakes region, last year shared $25.7 million in quality improvement incentives from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The nonprofit health insurer’s performance incentive program was established in 2005. Thus far, it has paid out more than $282 million in quality improvement incentives. “When a health insurer collaborates with health care providers, as we are doing with this hospital quality program, health outcomes improve,” said Carrie Whitcher, Excellus BCBS Vice President Health Care Improvement.

Eight hospitals in the Finger Lakes region participated in the program in 2018, sharing $12.3 million in quality improvement incentive payments. Participating hospitals included Clifton Springs Hospital, F.F. Thompson Hospital, Highland Hospital, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital and Unity Hospital.

“In 2018, our Hospital Performance Incentive Program evaluated participating hospitals on 59 unique performance measures,” said LouAnne Giangreco, M.D., Excellus BCBS Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Health Care Improvement. “We credit our hospital partners for their continuous commitment to quality improvement, and for achieving 77 percent of all quality improvement targets.”

In addition to achieving required clinical and patient safety measures in 2018, other nationally endorsed measures and target outcomes were jointly agreed upon by each hospital and the health insurer using benchmarks established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and others.

Areas targeted for 2018 improvement included:

  • Clinical Processes of Care – Focused on improvements in diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and surgical care, and other measures that may be unique to each participating hospital;
  • Patient Safety – Centered on reductions in hospital-acquired infections, readmissions, and other adverse events or errors that affect patient care; and
  • Patient Satisfaction – Used the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, which is a national, standardized, publicly-reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care

“We fully appreciate the partnership we’ve developed with providers for the last several years in the spirit of optimizing patient care and influencing overall outcomes. It is through these types of collaborations that we can mutually seek to improve the quality of care across upstate New York,” Whitcher said.