Early Results Show Quality Blue Is Getting Better Health Results, Holding Down Costs

Oct. 22, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. – Data from the first year (2013-2014) of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s Quality Blue Primary Care program show it is getting better health results for customers and leading to cost savings through more primary care doctor visits and fewer hospital stays.

“These results are early, but they are very promising,” said Mike Reitz, Blue Cross President and CEO. “Louisiana historically has higher rates of chronic disease and because of that, higher healthcare spending, than other states. We created Quality Blue to move the needle on these measures, and it appears we’re heading in the right direction.”

Blue Cross launched the program -- designed to give primary care doctors more data and help with coordinating their patients’ care -- in 2013. In the first year, Quality Blue led to better health results for customers whose doctors are participating. Now, with validation from Tulane University’s School of Public Health, the data show this program is also keeping costs down.

Reitz said Quality Blue wraps care around the customers’ needs, which helps them feel better and have a higher quality of life. “And as people get healthier, they don’t need as much or as aggressive treatment, which lowers costs,” he said. 

Quality Blue program data from 2013-2014 show that:

  • Blue Cross customers seeing Quality Blue doctors had better health outcomes combined with lower healthcare costs than other customers.
  • A key reason these customers’ costs were lower is because they needed fewer hospital stays. Care in a hospital costs much more than care in a doctor’s office or clinic. The more people can get care outside of a hospital, the less it costs.
  • Customers seeing Quality Blue doctors are getting more care in a doctor’s office – these customers saw their primary care doctors for checkups more often and  had higher rates of getting needed screenings and tests than other customers.

Blue Cross developed Quality Blue Primary Care based on the proven framework that when doctors work with patients to help them stay on top of their health and get preventive care, their medical costs go down. This is especially true for patients who have chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. 

Quality Blue drives increased collaboration between Blue Cross and primary care doctors in the insurer’s networks, so they can work together and make it easier for their mutual customers – Blue Cross members, doctors’ patients – to get the care they need.

Many patients receive care or have tests done at multiple places. In Quality Blue, Blue Cross makes claims data available to doctors in the program so they have a more complete picture of their patients’ medical histories and treatments. Blue Cross also provides analytical information, so providers can act on the claims data to identify areas where they are performing strongly and target areas for improvement. Blue Cross’ own clinical staff of more than 200 healthcare professionals will work with their patients who have chronic conditions between appointments to offer health coaching and help them meet their health and wellness goals.

When the doctors and insurance company work together to coordinate care, patients are more likely to stick to their treatments and have an easier time getting the services they need. Because of the added clinical support and patient insights from the information-sharing technology that Blue Cross provides, doctors can focus on doing what they do best – treating their patients. With this added information, they are better positioned to do outreach to their patients, get them to have necessary screenings or vaccines and connect them with a health coach.

Blue Cross is the only commercial health insurance company in Louisiana to offer this type of program. Quality Blue Primary Care has been embraced by primary care doctors around the state, with 656 participating. As of mid-October, there are more than 180,000 Blue Cross customers seeing Quality Blue doctors, including nearly 68,000 who have chronic conditions.

Blue Cross will announce updated health improvement statistics and share more information about cost savings at the 2015 Quality Blue Primary Care Statewide Collaborative. That event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center. Blue Cross will also recognize the top-performing clinics and doctors in this program at the collaborative.

Learn more about the ways Blue Cross is using Quality Blue to help our customers get better health results and combat rising healthcare costs at www.StraightTalkLA.com.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer. We are a private company, mutually owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to improving the health and lives of all Louisianians. With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. We’re the only Louisiana insurer that offers plans in every parish. We also provide every customer with comprehensive wellness education, programs and services to help them live healthier lives. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, we have eight regional offices to serve our customers around the state.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is dedicated to transforming the healthcare industry in Louisiana into one that delivers high-quality health outcomes for our customers with top-notch service at more affordable costs. Our reputation for exceptional service and prompt payments, as well as the hard work of our 200+ in-house doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and dietitians, keeps both customer and provider satisfaction high. Surveys by the Louisiana State Medical Society and the Louisiana Hospital Association consistently rank Blue Cross the best company providers do business with.

Blue Cross is deeply committed to the communities we serve. We invest both time and money in the health and wellbeing of Louisiana children by supporting more than 200 charitable organizations. We invite and encourage all Louisianians to visit our website or talk to us on social media through our online hub.