Share |

Press Release

Independence Blue Cross and Abington Health Ink New Three-Year Agreement

IBC's incentive program engages area physicians and hospitals in new era of accountable health care

Philadelphia, PA - July 6, 2011 - Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and Abington Health announce that they have reached agreement on new three-year contracts that will include IBC's new hospital/physician incentive program to help improve quality of care and lower costs for health care consumers. The agreements, which took effect June 1, 2011, continue to provide benefits for IBC's members at Abington Health, including Abington Memorial and Lansdale hospitals, the outpatient centers and services affiliated with those hospitals, and Abington Health Physicians, a network of approximately 200 primary care physicians and specialists.

IBC's new hospital/physician incentive program, called the Integrated Provider Performance Incentive Plan (IPPIP), is designed to improve the quality of care and lower its cost by incenting hospitals and physicians to collaborate in their efforts to reduce hospital acquired infections and readmissions, and to ensure evidence based guidelines are followed for surgical care and for the treatment of heart attacks, heart failure, and pneumonia.

"We are very pleased to give our members the peace of mind of knowing that they can continue to rely on Abington Health for their care," said Daniel J. Hilferty, IBC's president and CEO. "We proudly partner with high caliber health systems like Abington Health and their well respected doctors in this commitment to enhance the quality of care for their patients while holding down costs for our customers. We believe that our new incentive program is a strategic, prescriptive, and transparent hospital-physician alignment model that will pave the way for positive change in the delivery of quality care and promote greater coordination of health services. Ultimately, higher quality care is more cost-effective care."

"Hospital reimbursement is evolving toward an approach that rewards higher quality by giving incentives for improving health outcomes for patients," said Laurence M. Merlis, president and CEO at Abington. "Our physicians and staff are focused on patient safety and quality every day and are strongly committed to integrating best practices to improve care."

Abington Health is the third health system in the region, joining Jefferson and Holy Redeemer, to commit to IBC's new, innovative pay for performance program.

"By working together with a progressive and committed health system like Abington Health, we can create a new model of health care that works for everyone through enhanced care coordination and improved efficiency," says Doug Chaet, senior vice president of IBC's Contracting and Provider Networks. "Our new approach to reimbursement for hospitals and physicians is really all about accountability."

The framework for IBC's new hospital/physician incentive program is aligned with an initiative in the new federal health reform law that will begin to move today's fragmented health care system into a era of "accountable" care. Under "accountable" care, groups of physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers work together to coordinate care for the patients they serve and share responsibility for providing efficient, high quality care. These groups must be large enough to set up comprehensive performance measurements and have the capability of tracking and analyzing costs and resource needs. Similarly, IBC's new incentive plan provides hospitals and their affiliated physicians' additional financial rewards for delivering better health outcomes. The pay for performance plan also includes incentives for coordinating inpatient, outpatient, and ancillary care, such as home health, rehabilitation services, prescriptions, and other health services.

About Abington Health
Abington Health is the umbrella organization that encompasses its flagship hospital, Abington Memorial Hospital, in Abington Township and Lansdale Hospital in Hatfield Township. Abington Health also includes two convenient outpatient facilities, Abington Health Center - Schilling Campus in Willow Grove and Abington Health Center - Warminster Campus in Bucks County. Together, these facilities annually serve more than 42,000 inpatients and approximately 131,000 emergency patients.

Also included is Abington Health Physicians, a network of specialists and primary care physicians employed by Abington Memorial Hospital and Lansdale Hospital. All told, Abington Health's medical staff consists of more than 1,400 primary care physicians and medical and surgical specialists, as well as over 125 physicians-in-training within five residency programs.

Abington Health employs more than 6,000 employees, making it one of the largest employers in Montgomery County.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.