Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan launches initiative to compare costs of care at hospitals across Michigan

DETROIT, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network, and the University of Michigan Health System have launched the Michigan Value Collaborative, an initiative aimed at helping hospitals across the state understand their practice patterns compared with their peers, better manage costs and improve outcomes for patients. Almost 300 physicians and leaders from Michigan hospitals attended the new program's kick-off meeting on Oct. 10 in Ypsilanti and received their first reports.

"This new initiative uses health care claims data to enable hospitals to see how they compare on the resources they use to deliver care to patients," said David Share, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president, Value Partnerships, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. "This initiative is unique in that it allows participating hospitals to see how they compare with other hospitals, and use that data to better connect their care practices and costs with outcomes.  Hospitals will be able to adjust their practice patterns to benefit patients and the overall efficiency of our health care system."

The collaborative will provide hospitals with timely feedback about utilization and payment, comparing hospitals on cost and variation based on claims data from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and soon, Medicare.  Participating hospitals will not only receive information about their comparative costs during hospital admissions and their comparison to the statewide average, but also for care delivered before and after hospitalization.

The collaborative is the 15th in the Blues' Collaborative Quality Initiatives program, designed to work with doctors and hospitals to manage costs while improving the quality of care for patients across Michigan.  These programs have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of medical and surgical procedures.

John Birkmeyer, MD, and other faculty with the University of Michigan Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy will lead the program and its coordinating center. 

"Providing hospitals with reliable feedback on their comparative costs is obviously important in the era of health reform," Birkmeyer said.  "We also want to give them insights about how they can help their patients achieve the best possible outcomes at the lowest reasonable cost."

Initially, the MVC will focus on procedures and conditions that are among the most common and costly — and often associated with wide variations in treatment.

On Thursday, hospitals received reports on their performance with heart attacks, congestive heart failure, cardiac surgery, hip replacement, and colon surgery.  In the upcoming months, they will begin receiving similar data for many other clinical conditions and procedures.

The database platform and analytics for the new collaborative is being provided by ArborMetrix, an Ann Arbor based technology company founded by Dr. Birkmeyer and two others. Dr. Birkmeyer holds an equity interest in, and serves as the chief scientific officer of the company.

The Michigan Value Collaborative is part of Value Partnerships, a series of initiatives among physicians, hospitals and the Michigan Blues, all aimed at improving quality and safety in medical care. For more information on this award-winning program, go to

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit or

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

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