Tag Archives: blue cross blue shield

Amazon Berkshire’s health care initiative hires expert in contracting for quality

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Dana Gelb Safran

Last spring, Atul Gawande, M.D., became chief executive officer of an unnamed initiative that will cover the health costs of 1.2 million employees and family members of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan. Shortly after being named CEO, Gawande said the initiative would aim to eliminate three kinds of waste in the health care system: administrative costs, high prices, and inappropriate use of health care services, as Zachary Tracer reported for Bloomberg News.

Last week, we got a clue about how Gawande might approach these three challenges when the initiative hired Dana Gelb Safran, Sc.D., from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Continue reading

Four-year results of global payment initiative show costs reduced, quality improved

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

An innovative payment program from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has achieved impressive results in controlling costs and improving quality over four years, according to a new study.

In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Harvard Medical School evaluated a Blue Cross initiative, called the alternative quality contract (AQC), which pays physicians and hospitals a risk-adjusted global budget.

Image by A Healthier Michigan via flickr.

Image by A Healthier Michigan via flickr.

The analysis showed that the AQC reduced costs over the first four years of the program (2009 through 2012) by 6.8 percent compared with costs in a control group. The control group included commercially insured members of employer-sponsored plans in Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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