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First Rewards Paid to New Jersey Doctors Through Participation in Bridges to Excellence

Incentives paid by employers and health plans to physicians meeting quality standards for diabetes care

TRENTON, N.J., March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Through Bridges to Excellence (BTE), the nation's most extensive effort to recognize and reward high-performing physicians, improve patient health and reduce costs of care, the first rewards are being paid in New Jersey to BTE-recognized doctors. The program was first launched in the Garden State in 2008 by a core group of employers, health plans and physicians working together to address specific goals and standards for quality care for diabetes. Almost 50 physicians will receive the initial incentives.

"The Bridges to Excellence program makes quality a key component in the value equation of health care reform," said Cliff Feldman, executive director, Health and Wellness Benefits for Verizon. "Rewarding doctors who provide higher-quality, evidence-based care, helps drive better results and ultimately lowers health care costs."

Employers instrumental in bringing Bridges to Excellence to New Jersey include Verizon (a founding member of BTE), AstraZeneca, AtlantiCare, Novo Nordisk, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and Trump Entertainment Resorts. Aetna has shown its commitment to the success of the program by working with employers to include more New Jersey members in the program, including fully insured members, which has resulted in more opportunity for incentives for participating physicians. Other participating health plans are CIGNA, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and UnitedHealthcare, with Aetna, CIGNA and UnitedHealthcare paying initial rewards to physicians.

"Improving the quality and cost of health care requires collaboration and commitment from all stakeholders," said Michael Hudson, president, Northeast Region, Health Care Management for Aetna. "Aetna is proud to be a part of BTE and to work with physicians and employers to improve the quality and to increase the efficiency of care delivered to New Jersey's residents and our members. We applaud the physicians who have earned recognition within the BTE program and thank the employers who join us in supporting these efforts."

The physician community has also been receptive to BTE's arrival, with efforts championed by medical groups such as Partners In Care, Corp. (PIC) and Vista Health System IPA. Both organizations have endorsed and are actively driving implementation of BTE in New Jersey.

The BTE Diabetes Care Link (DCL) program is designed to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes. Physicians who demonstrate they are top performers in diabetes care and employ standards established by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (such as blood pressure and cholesterol control as well as annual foot and eye exams) can earn up to $100 for each diabetic patient covered by a participating employer. Participating employers fund these incentives from the savings they achieve through lower health care costs and increased employee productivity that results from delivery of higher quality diabetes care.

"We are pleased to see this effort progress in New Jersey," said Francois de Brantes, BTE CEO. "Not only will the residents of New Jersey benefit from improved diabetes care through the use of BTE metrics, it is estimated that more than $60 million per year in avoidable health care costs could be saved as a result of this program."

For more information on Bridges to Excellence or to find out how to participate as an employer or a physician, visit

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

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Francois de Brantes

SOURCE Bridges to Excellence
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