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View More Press Releases by Bridges to Excellence

Press release:

Bridges to Excellence Physician Reward Program Expands National Presence -- from Maine to Georgia

Issued by: Bridges to Excellence

Date: Aug. 21, 2007

Bridges to Excellence Physician Reward Program Expands National Presence – from Maine to Georgia

More than 5 million consumers impacted by information to make better choices about their care

WASHINGTON – August 21, 2007 – Bridges to Excellence (BTE), the nation’s largest effort to reward physicians for delivering high-quality care, has reached a key milestone with more than 100 employers and all national health plans working together throughout most of the East Coast to transform the way health care is delivered. There are a total of 19 regional areas, the majority along the East Coast but also including California, Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Colorado and Arkansas. For consumers, the number of patients benefiting from improved and more cost-effective care as a result of seeing recognized physicians is more than 5 million. Consumers can find out if their physicians are recognized by BTE for no charge at www.healthgrades.com.

Through participation in BTE’s programs – Physician Office Link, Diabetes Care Link, Cardiac Care Link and the new Spine Care Link – employers, health plans and physicians are working together nationally to improve care processes and systems of care. These efforts are in alignment with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Value-Driven Health Care initiative. "I congratulate Bridges to Excellence on achieving this milestone," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. "BTE's many programs are making great strides toward ensuring that patients have access to information about the quality of care. Their efforts and those of others to employ the principles of value-driven health care are critical to making our nation's health care system more transparent – which will ultimately provide better care at lower costs."

The State of Georgia is one such collaborative effort that continues to lead by example. “As we work to identify better solutions that provide more choices, better health and lower cost, Bridges to Excellence is one of the programs we’re implementing,” said Newt Gingrich, former U.S. House Speaker and founder of The Center for Health Transformation (CHT). “In keeping with efforts to align private and public sectors to transform the health care system, we’ve teamed up with the State of Georgia to be the first state health benefit plan to participate in BTE.”

The collaborative efforts ultimately become a critical piece of the strategic plan for employers. “Bridges to Excellence complements EMC’s employee health management philosophy, which is aimed at helping employees and family members manage their health and navigate through the health care environment,” said Delia Vetter, senior director of Benefits for EMC Corporation and a BTE board member. “The BTE Programs will enable us to recognize and reward quality health care in the communities where we have employees, and help us ensure that our employees and their families receive high-quality patient-centric care.”

Progress state-by-state
Nationally, 19 regions have operational BTE programs, with significant momentum being gained along the East Coast:
     Connecticut – The Connecticut Collaborative was recently established and includes regional and national health plans that operate in the State as well as the active participation of eHealthConnecticut, the State’s Regional Health Information Organization, Qualidigm, the State’s Quality Improvement Organization, and the State’s Medical Society.
     District of Columbia – CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield led the effort that is now expanding with the support of several purchasers and the MidAtlantic Business Group on Health, including Aetna, Marriott International and Verizon.
     Georgia – In association with BTE and CHT's Healthy Georgia Diabetes and Obesity Project, a number of large employers are implementing the BTE Diabetes Care Link Program in Georgia. The State of Georgia is participating with more than $8 million available for rewards and the program has grown to more than 120 physicians.
     Maine – The Maine Health Management Coalition has more than 300 Maine physician practices participating in Pathways to Excellence, an effort that works with BTE throughout Maine to provide a resource for employers, employees, and their family members to make better health care decisions.
     Massachusetts – Massachusetts is one of the original BTE pilot markets and has been active since 2004. Recently completing a three-year pilot, BTE programs in Massachusetts have enabled over 1,300 physicians to make significant improvements in their systems and processes, and as a result, they received more than $2.4 million in financial rewards between 2004 and 2006.
     New Jersey – The newest BTE statewide region to join, more than nine national employers and a prominent physician group, Partners in Care, with over 850 physicians are committed to this program in New Jersey.
     New York – Another early adopter market, several organizations including the New York Business Group on Health are working collaboratively to expand the program throughout the state. Some of the most important examples of practice transformation and patient improvement efforts have come from the New York pilot, with diabetes outcomes significantly improving as a result of the investment of more than $2 million in BTE rewards.
     North Carolina – Through the efforts of the Charlotte and Raleigh Area Health Care Collaborative, there are eight major employers participating with the State Employee Health Plan, including CISCO. The number of recognized physicians has increased with more than 600 participating in three of BTE’s programs – Physician Office Link, Diabetes Care Link and Cardiac Care Link.

In 2008, Bridges to Excellence is targeting Florida, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

“Since its inception in 2002, BTE has steadily grown and impacted health care quality and patient outcomes community by community,” said Francois de Brantes, national coordinator for BTE. “With the increasing momentum of efforts toward value-driven health care nationally, we are encouraged about the future of BTE for rewarding physicians to improve the value and quality of health care.”

About Bridges to Excellence
Bridges to Excellence (BTE) is a not-for-profit, coalition-based organization created to encourage significant leaps in the quality of care by recognizing and rewarding health care providers who demonstrate that they deliver safe, timely, effective, and patient-centered care. BTE works with large employers, health plans, providers and a wide range of organizations that have a shared goal of improving quality and patient outcomes. BTE is a member of The Partnership for Value-driven Health Care, a group formed in late 2006 in response to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt’s call for employers to implement the Four Cornerstones of Value-Driven Health Care. For more information go to www.bridgestoexcellence.org.

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For more information: http://www.bridgestoexcellence.org/news-and-events/press-releases/release_082107.mspx

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