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Aurora Health Care Top Quality System in Nation in Medicare, Premier Healthcare Alliance Pay-For-Performance Project
Date:6/17/2008

MILWAUKEE, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora Health Care is the top performing health system in the country in a national Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Premier healthcare alliance pay-for-performance project. The initiative rewards hospitals for delivering higher quality care in five major clinical areas.

Aurora Health Care has been one of the top performing health care systems since the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project's inception four years ago. The initiative focuses on improving the quality of patient care in congestive heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, heart bypass surgery, and hip and knee replacement.

In the Year 3 results that were just released, Aurora hospitals have excelled in several of the quality areas.

-- Aurora's hospitals are top performers in 40 of the 47 quality areas that are measured. This is the most of any system.

-- Aurora hospitals received incentive payments in 24 quality areas, the most of any system in the country.

-- Ten of the Aurora hospitals that have been a part of the quality effort are in the top for care of people with pneumonia.

"We've committed to finding better ways of care that lead to high quality, high-efficiency and low-costs. These results help to reinforce that Aurora is making good on that promise to the communities we serve," said Nick Turkal, M.D., Aurora President and CEO. "We believe strongly in integrated care, which is a better model for the patients we serve. It enables us to provide care across all settings so patients have easy access to the best care and service."

"These measures of excellence in the hospital setting are made possible by the excellent care our caregivers provide in all of our settings across eastern Wisconsin, including physician offices, home health, pharmacies, and hospice. It is no longer about being good. It is about pursuing perfection," Turkal added.

Based on third-year results from the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration, Aurora will receive a bonus payment of nearly $376,000 for the 24 areas that are in the top 20 percent. CMS awarded incentive payments of more than $7 million to 112 hospitals. Overall, 206 awards were given to top- performing hospitals in the third year of the project.

"While the incentive payments reflect the high level of results delivered by our caregivers, this effort is not about the money. We are motivated by our commitment to find better ways to provide people with better results and a better care experience than they can get anywhere else," added Turkal.

The dollars awarded to Aurora have been utilized to further improve care and provide data to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other caregivers.

"Hospitals participating in the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project make quality a top priority from the hospital board on down," said Stephanie Alexander, Premier senior vice president. "These top-performing hospitals -- small and large, urban and rural, teaching and non-teaching -- have demonstrated a continuous and sustained improvement, and we commend them for their dedication to provide the highest-quality patient care."

The hospital quality results follow a recent study by Benefit Services Group that concluded Aurora is the most cost efficient hospital system in the Milwaukee area.

"These results are all about delivering on the promise that we have made to communities to deliver the best care, improve the health of Wisconsin, and be excellent stewards of health care dollars," said Turkal. This is about changing the model to what patients need most. As a not for profit health care system, we owe it to the people and communities we serve. This is what we deliver."

About the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project

The Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration is the first national project of its kind, designed to determine if economic incentives to hospitals are effective at improving the quality of inpatient care. Through the project, which was launched in 2003 and extended by CMS for an additional three years, Premier collects a set of more than 30 evidence-based clinical quality measures from over 250 hospitals across the country. The quality measures were developed by government and private organizations (for more information on the indicators, visit: http://www.qualitydemo.com).

Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration tracks process and outcome measures in five clinical areas -- acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), pneumonia, and hip and knee replacement.

Improvements in quality of care saved an estimated 2,500 acute myocardial infarction (AMI/heart attack) patients across the first three years of the project, according to an analysis of mortality rates at hospitals participating in the project. In addition, patients received approximately 300,000 additional recommended evidence-based clinical quality measures, such as smoking cessation, discharge instructions and pneumococcal vaccination, during that same timeframe.

For hospitals participating in the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project, the average Composite Quality Score (CQS), an aggregate of all quality measures within each clinical area, improved by 4.4 percent between the project's second and third year for total gains of 15.8 percent over the project's first three years.

For additional information about the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project, visit http://www.qualitydemo.com.

About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Serving more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals and 50,000 other healthcare sites, the Premier healthcare alliance and its members are transforming healthcare together. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier operates one of the leading healthcare purchasing networks and the nation's most comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information.

A subsidiary operates one of the nation's largest policy-holder owned, hospital professional liability risk-retention groups. A world leader in helping healthcare providers deliver dramatic improvements in care, Premier is working with the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in San Diego, Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Washington. For more information, visit http://www.premierinc.com.

About Aurora Health Care

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.
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SOURCE Aurora Health Care
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