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NCQA Awards Quality Plus Distinction to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota for Physician and Hospital Quality Measures

EAGAN, Minn., April 3, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) has awarded Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota with a Quality Plus Distinction for Physician and Hospital Quality. The program awards health plans that are market leaders for measuring the quality and cost of care provided to members by hospitals and clinics. NCQA is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to measuring the quality of America's health care.

"The definition of what constitutes an exceptional health plan is very different today than it was even a few years ago," said Marc Manley, M.D., vice president and medical director population health. "This achievement establishes Blue Cross as a leader in helping members understand their benefits so they can identify quality hospitals and the best doctors to help them make informed decisions about their health care options."

NCQA's Quality Plus Distinction acknowledges Blue Cross' efforts in working collaboratively with physicians and hospitals, who receive frequent performance feedback from Blue Cross that aids them in improving, Manley added. The Physician and Hospital Quality standards are focused on the following components:

-- Standardized, reliable measures of quality and cost.

-- Transparency of standardized quality measures and cost information,

which must be disclosed to providers being measured and made available

to the public.

-- Collaborative initiatives among and between providers motivated by the

establishment of industry-wide standards.

-- Quality improvement and greater health care affordability as a result

of standardized and comprehensive measurement and reporting programs.

Blue Cross exceeded these standards with its involvement in Minnesota Community Measurement, a nonprofit organization that annually reports quality information about health care providers in collaboration with Minnesota health plans and the Minnesota Medical Association.

Blue Cross' web site was noted for doing an excellent job in providing its members information about the quality and cost for hundreds of procedures, conditions and services. One of those web tools is Healthcare Facts, a hospital and clinic information tool designed to educate members through the use of the familiar nutrition label format.

"Health care innovation is developing at a rapid pace," Manley said. "We participate in NCQA's Quality Plus program because we want to push the innovation envelope. And we are sending a message to our members, physicians and hospitals that we are focused on the issues that matter the most to them through our participation in the Quality Plus program."

Quality Plus is a voluntary program for all NCQA accredited organizations. Blue Cross was one of the health plans who adopted the Quality Plus programs early on.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
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