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Highmark posts Quality Blue results

By - Last modified: November 8, 2012 at 10:57 AM

The latest results from the Quality Blue pay-for-performance program continue to show progress, according to Pittsburgh-based insurer Highmark Inc.

Highmark began Quality Blue in 2002 and now includes 91 hospitals in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, with Delaware slated to join in 2014. Nearly 4,600 physicians also participate.

The annual meeting at which participants share what has and has not worked is taking place today in Harrisburg.

Ten hospitals that have participated in the program for three years reduced readmissions per 100 discharges — a complex process that requires multiple system changes — from 14.32 in 2011 to 13.93 in 2012.

Twenty-nine hospitals used surgical safety checklists in 2012, averting an estimated 739 inpatient and outpatient surgical site infections. At a low-end cost of $2,734 per infection, that would represent savings of more than $2 million.

An estimated 173 central line-associated bloodstream infections and 205 catheter-associated urinary tract infections were averted at Quality Blue hospitals in 2012. Over five years, Highmark said, averted infections are estimated to have saved more than $43 million.

Participants in the program also recorded a generic prescribing rate of 79 percent in 2012, above the national average of 67 percent, and participating physicians exceeded national standards for childhood immunization rates and well-child care visits.