Blues claim improvement in cost and outcomes

Score one for hospital quality improvement programs: The Blues announced at a news conference that they have been successful in improving patient outcomes and reducing costs through Blue Distinction program.

A survey by WellPoint subsidiary HealthCore showed a 26 percent lower readmission rate for bypass surgeries, and a 5 percent lower cost than at non-participating facilities. Likewise for outpatient angioplasties, which showed a 37 percent lower readmission rate and 12 percent lower cost.

Seeing the better outcomes and lower costs, banking giant US Bancorp is now requiring its 87,000 covered workers, retirees and family members to use only Blue distinction centers for relevant procedures.

And the number of procedures covered by the program is going to increase: the Blues association has said that they will expand in coming years to include spine surgery, knee and hip replacements, and even treatments for common cancers and transplants.

To learn more about the improvements:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece