BCBSA: Patient-centered plan saves $300B

The federal government could save $300 billion over 10 years if it focused on more efficient healthcare services, according to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).

The insurance association released an action plan, which is based on the experience of its 39 plans, outlining suggestions to fundamentally transform the healthcare system, moving it away from a fee-for-service model to a patient-centered model.

Among its cost-saving recommendations, BCBSA said quality service incentives and reduced medical errors would eliminate infections and complications and decrease redundant and unnecessary services. More emphasis on primary care and healthy lifestyles also decrease healthcare costs, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.

"We believe the healthcare system needs to fundamentally change so that people get the best, most-affordable care possible," Scott Serota, BCBSA president and chief executive, said in a statement. "We need to put the patient back in the center of healthcare."

BCBSA officials said their proposals look beyond immediate savings and instead focus on long-term goals of creating a more efficient and high-quality healthcare system, reports CQ HealthBeat. "It really is a call to action," Serota said, adding that the company will meet with Congresstonal members and the Obama administration about their ideas.

The action plan recommends accelerating the adoption of new hospital safety measures; expanding the bundled-payment initiative to cover all inpatient Medicare discharges by 2020; enrolling dual eligibles into plans that use evidence-based coordination of care; adopting national evidence-based lifestyle change programs, including diabetes prevention; creating a childhood obesity prevention program within Medicaid; adopting a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommendation for pre-authorization of advanced imaging services for certain outlier physicians; and overhauling the medical malpractice system to cap non-economic and punitive damages.

To learn more:
- read the BCBSA press release and action plan
- see the Bloomberg BusinessWeek article
- check out the CQ HealthBeat article

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