BCBS saves $232M, cuts readmissions with patient registries

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has helped decrease patient mortality rates, hospital readmissions, emergency department visits and surgery complications--plus saved $232 million in health costs--through its collaborative quality initiative program, the insurer announced Tuesday.

The collaborative quality program, in which 70 Michigan hospitals participate, creates hospital registries of patients who undergo various procedures. The registries let hospitals share data to improve care, reduce costly complications and identify best practices, reported the Detroit News.

"These programs shine a spotlight on how doctors and hospitals in partnership with a health plan can transform healthcare by sharing data and improving patient outcomes in their practices," Blue Cross CEO Dan Loepp said. "Our programs enable doctors from many health systems to share data, building a sense of trust and cooperation that has created an extraordinary catalyst for improving the quality of patient outcomes, while reducing unnecessary healthcare costs."

Blue Cross highlighted four of its quality initiatives covering 200,000 patients in general surgery, bariatric surgery, angioplasty and cardiac surgery. For example, its general surgery collaborative saved $85.9 million from 2009 to 2010. It also reduced surgical site infections by 18 percent and patients' length of hospital by 15 percent, Crain's Detroit Business reported.

The bariatric surgery collaborative resulted in fewer deaths, dropping from 0.21 percent in 2007 to 0.02 percent in 2009. Blue Cross said complications, hospital readmissions and emergency department visits after the operations also decreased, the Detroit News noted.

The quality program extended beyond Blue Cross members; about two-thirds of the savings were attributed to procedures performed on patients with Medicare or Medicaid, other private insurance plans or no insurance, the insurer said.

To learn more:
- read the Blue Cross quality results
- read the Crain's Detroit Business article
- see the Detroit News article

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