Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has long maintained that its Alternative Quality Contract (AQC) for providers, based on a global budget and pay-for-performance model, would not only lower health care costs but also improve quality care. And a study released last week set to be published in the August 2012 issue of Health Affairs confirms just that.
The study found that providers in the contract, which started with seven provider organizations in 2009 followed by another four in 2010, had savings of 1.9% in the first year and 3.3% in the second year compared with nonparticipating groups. In addition, chronic care management, adult preventive care and pediatric care within the contracting groups also improved more in year two compared with year one.
The authors conclude that the long-term success of the AQC will depend on how well budgets and bonuses are set, and how well provider groups are able to improve quality while their budgets grow more slowly every year.
Given the success of the Massachusetts Blues plan’s AQC, do you think other carriers will follow in its footsteps?