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Excellus awards eight CNY hospitals payments for quality improvements

By Eric Reinhardt


Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (Excellus BCBS) has awarded 41 hospitals quality improvement payments, including eight hospitals in Central New York.

Excellus awarded a total of $22.4 million in this round of payments in its performance-incentive program, the organization said in its Thursday news release. 

Rochester–based Excellus BCBS is Central New York’s largest health insurer.

The eight regional hospitals that participated during 2015 include Auburn Community Hospital; Cortland Regional Medical Center; Crouse Hospital, Oswego Hospital, Samaritan Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and the downtown and Community campuses of Upstate University Hospital, according to Excellus.

Each hospital can decide if it wants to announce its individual payment amount, Excellus said in an email response to a BJNN inquiry.

“To provide the best value for our customers, collaboration with our provider partners is more important than ever as we identify new best practices to improve health outcomes and use health care resources more effectively,” Tony Vitagliano, vice president of health system performance at Excellus BCBS, said in its news release.

In 2015, the Excellus incentive program evaluated participating hospitals on more than 241 measures.

The health insurer awarded incentive payments to hospitals that achieved 90 percent of all quality improvement targets.

The program targeted areas for improvement that included clinical processes of care, which focused on improvements in heart-attack care, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care.

It also targeted patient safety and centered on reductions in hospital-acquired infections, falls, pressure ulcers, readmissions, and other adverse events or errors that affect patient care.

In addition, the program also targeted patient satisfaction using the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey. Excellus describes it as the “first national, standardized, publicly-reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care.”

In its news release. Excellus explained the relevance of targeting hospital-acquired infections in patient safety, citing its Spring 2013 fact sheet on hospital-acquired infections in upstate New York.

The report found that New York in 2010 had an estimated 108,000 hospital-acquired infections, including 24,000 in upstate New York.

Those hospital-acquired infections led to an estimated 5,000 New York state deaths, 1,100 of which occurred in upstate New York, according to Excellus.

If upstate New York hospitals could lower the number of hospital-acquired infections “by even 20 percent or 40 percent,” the result would be an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 fewer infections and 200 to 400 fewer associated deaths, the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield report concludes.

That would also save upstate New York hospitals an estimated $68 million to $137 million annually, according to Excellus.

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