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Buyers Health Care Action Group Pilots New Bridges to Excellence Program for Depression
Date:5/28/2008

Rollout of physician pay for performance effort encourages optimal care of patients with depression

MINNEAPOLIS, May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Depression is the most costly illness for U.S. employers estimated at more than $44 billion a year in lost productivity. To measure and reward optimal care for patients with depression, the Buyers Health Care Action Group (BHCAG) is leading a new Bridges to Excellence (BTE) program with a pilot in Minnesota. BTE is the nation's largest effort to reward physicians for delivery of high quality care. The Depression Management Care Link pilot will monitor physician and practice performance and improvements, evaluate the impact of better management of depression on costs of care and understand how the measures could be implemented through electronic medical record systems.

"We hope to make a significant impact on improving the health of our community by providing purchasers and consumers information on which physicians are providing excellent care to people that are depressed," said BHCAG CEO Carolyn Pare. "As an early adopter of BTE for diabetes and cardiovascular care, we hope to apply the same quality improvement, measurement and reward techniques towards the identification and treatment of depression."

Patients complete a screening questionnaire to determine if they are depressed. A reassessment is done at six months, and continues throughout the course of treatment. As measurement is a critical element in BTE programs, this evaluation tool will be used to measure improvements in patient outcomes and determine program results. The goal is to see improvements in how the patient is feeling in six months, with full recovery in 12 months. Scoring and assessment will be done by MN Community Measurement, a BTE performance assessment organization.

BTE Champions of Change will pay high performing providers per patient in 2009 and participating health plans have committed to paying on the prog
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SOURCE Bridges to Excellence
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