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Blues program pays higher rates for quality care

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina has launched program to reward primary-care physicians who meet specific quality standards by increasing payment rates by as much as a double-digit percentage.

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina has begun a program to reward primary-care physicians who meet specific quality standards by increasing payment rates by as much as a double-digit percentage.

To receive the extra pay, a practice must achieve a series of quality designations, the most significant of which is certification by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a patient-centered medical home or physician practice connection practice.

The program, called Blue Quality, builds on a 2006 state pilot program, Bridges to Excellence. That employer-sponsored program resulted in measurable reductions in specialist visits, high-tech imaging, and hospitalizations, and most of the 250 participants achieved 1 of the 2 NCQA designations.

Berry E. Quality care brings physicians higher pay. American Medical News. March 18, 2010. http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/03/15/bisf0318.htm. Accessed April 4, 2010.