The Boston Globe, October 6, 2011

Partners HealthCare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced a deal that will reduce the insurer's payments to the nine-hospital system by $240 million over the next three years, including $80 million next year. Under a renegotiated contract, rate increases between 2012 and 2014 will be held in line with general inflation. Blue Cross customers will still see premium increases during that period, but they would be less than they would have been. The main elements of the deal were reported last month by Globe reporter Robert Weisman. Partners hospitals -- many of which are among the highest paid in the state -- will now be paid under a "global payment" system, which will put them on a budget for patient care rather than reimbursing them for each patient visit and procedure. Blue Cross, the state's largest health insurer, has been moving health care providers to its version of global payments, called the alternative quality contract, since 2009.

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