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Doctors Receive Bonuses for Providing Optimal Care to Patients Through Bridges to Excellence
Date:11/25/2008

BTE announces Massachusetts program enhancements to make it easier for physicians to participate

BOSTON, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- For the fifth consecutive year, Bridges to Excellence (BTE), the nation's largest effort to measure and reward physicians for delivering high-quality care, will pay bonuses to recognized doctors in Massachusetts. Rewards paid to-date in the Commonwealth total more than $2.5 million. The BTE programs in Massachusetts have enabled more than 1,000 physicians to make significant improvements in their systems and processes, with approximately 240 doctors recognized with rewards in 2008.

"BTE has provided direction and focus for our physicians' efforts to redesign their practices and improve their care for several years now," said Thomas H. Lee, MD, Network President for Partners Healthcare System. "The criteria for certification provide the direction, and the financial rewards provide the focus."

Research shows BTE-recognized doctors provide better quality and more efficient care

A recent study published in the October issue of The American Journal of Managed Care* demonstrates that BTE-recognized primary care physicians in Massachusetts provide better quality of care at a comparatively lower overall cost than their non-recognized peers. This research looked at physicians that had transformed their practices using good systems and were actively managing their patients, and found that inpatient stays were lower across all patients as evaluation and management increased.

Key to the success of this effort which started in Massachusetts is the participation and collaboration of physicians including the Lahey Clinic and Partners Healthcare System, employers, AstraZeneca, EMC, GE, IBM, Raytheon, and Verizon, and health plans, including BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts and Tufts Health Plan.

Making it easier for doctors to participate

BTE is working closely with the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC), an initiative of the physician community to bring together the state's major health care stakeholders to establish an electronic medical records system, to accelerate the BTE recognition process and ease the reporting burden for doctors. This is part of BTE's pilots to test the submission of electronic medical record data for performance assessment and rapid feedback loops to physicians. BTE and MAeHC will partner in 2009 to set up the data streams that will allow physicians to voluntarily elect to have their data sent to an independent assessor -- Masspro -- to achieve BTE recognition. The availability of real-time, credible data will make it easier for doctors to participate and health plans to implement pay for performance programs.

"Expanding the number of pathways physicians can achieve recognition by leveraging other local data efforts makes sense not only to reduce the burden on the physicians but from a community perspective so that care is ultimately patient centric," said Micky Tripathi, MAeHC President and CEO.

Through participation in three of BTE's programs -- Physician Office Link, Diabetes Care Link and Cardiac Care Link -- Massachusetts' employers, providers, coalitions and quality improvement organizations are working together to improve care processes and systems of care -- directly impacting and improving the quality of health care delivered to patients in Massachusetts.

"The BTE program recognizes the importance of implementing systems and processes in physician practices to coordinate care to improve quality and patient outcomes," said Judith A. Melin M.A., M.D., Chief Medical Services Officer, Lahey Clinic.

About Bridges to Excellence

Bridges to Excellence (BTE) is a non-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. For more information, visit www.bridgestoexcellence.org.

*Note to editors: The paper, Bridges to Excellence: Recognizing High Quality Care; Analysis of Physician Quality and Resource Use, can be found online at: http://www.ajmc.com/files/articlefiles/AJMC_08oct_Rosenthal670to677.pdf.

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