The payer giant has signed contracts with four health systems in a milestone initiative.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) announced value-based contracts with four health systems with the aim of reducing racial and ethnic inequities in care.
The health insurer said the agreements are the first in the state of Massachusetts, as well as among the first in the nation, to create a financial payment model that rewards providers for improving equity measures.
The four Massachusetts health systems to sign on are Steward Healthcare Network, Beth Israel Lahey health, Mass General Brigham, and Boston Accountable Care Organization. In total, the health systems provide care to more than 550,000 Blue Cross members.
"For more than a decade, we've collaborated with physicians and hospitals via our Alternative Quality Contract, which replaced the fee-for-service model and instead rewards clinicians' efforts to improve the quality and value of the care they deliver," Andrew Dreyfus, CEO of Blue Cross, said in a statement.
"We're now building on that model to help health systems in our value-based payment programs improve equity. As a health plan, this is the most important tool we have to work toward a health system that provides affordable, quality and equitable care to all our members."
At the start, the agreements will focus on measuring and rewarding equity in care in multiple clinical areas with inequities, such as colorectal cancer screenings, care for diabetes, and blood pressure control. As the payment model evolves, more categories will be included.
The Center for Healthcare Organization and Innovation Research at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health will conduct an independent external evaluation of the contracts and publish the effects of their effectiveness.
Jay Asser is an associate editor for HealthLeaders.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has signed contracts with four health systems in the state to further equity efforts through value-based payments.
The health systems joining on are Steward Healthcare Network, Beth Israel Lahey health, Mass General Brigham, and Boston Accountable Care Organization.
The agreements will initially target measuring and rewarding equity in care in several areas, with more categories added later.