Capital BlueCross, LeapFrog launch program to rate local health care providers

How do patients fare at the hospital? What resources are used in caring for patients? What type of leadership and structures are in place to promote patient safety?

These are the questions that a Harrisburg-based health insurance company will start asking hospitals in the midstate.

Capital BlueCross said today it is partnering with The Leapfrog Group to establish a regional hospital recognition program in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

The goal is to help employers and consumers make more informed health care decisions.

“Our number-one priority is to ensure our customers have access to the highest quality care possible,” said Jennifer Chambers, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Capital BlueCross. “Working with The Leapfrog Group will enable us to better measure hospital quality, reward high-performing hospitals, and help customers make informed decisions for themselves and their families.”

Hospitals will be incentivized by Capital BlueCross to participate in the annual survey with financial rewards that will depend upon quality, resource utilization performance and improvement over the past year’s results.

Leapfrog is a national nonprofit that focuses on health care quality and safety, and its hospital survey is the only nationally standardized and endorsed set of measures that captures hospital performance in patient safety, quality and resource utilization, according to the news release.  

Capital BlueCross is the first health insurer in Pennsylvania to partner with Leapfrog on this type of health care quality recognition program. Only one other insurer in the nation is doing something similar with Leapfrog.

York-based Wellspan Health System does not currently participate in Leapfrog’s national programs, though it has in the past and may do so again in the future, according to Charles H. Chodroff, WellSpan’s senior vice president for population health and chief clinical officer.

“Our priority has been to participate in quality, safety and performance surveys conducted by government and regulatory agencies. These include the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, The Joint Commission, Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council and Quality Insights of Pennsylvania, to name a handful,” said Chodroff. “These surveys provide reliable and transparent information that patients can use when making important health care decisions.”

Hospitals that choose to participate in the survey through Capital BlueCross and Leapfrog will be measured in nine categories:

•          Basic hospital information

•          Computerized physician order entry

•          Evidence-based hospital referral

•          Maternity care

•          ICU physician staffing

•          National Quality Forum Safe Practices Score

•          Managing serious errors

•          Bar code medication administration

•          Resource Use

Hospitals must complete the survey between April 1 and Dec. 31 of each year, and the results will be available to the public in July on Leapfrog’s website.

Lenay Ruhl

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