Blue Cross Louisiana program targeting primary care lowers costs, reduces hospital stays

A Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana program that emphasizes getting chronic diseases under control cut costs by $25 per patient per month during the past two years, and even greater savings lie ahead.

During the first nine months of 2015, family doctors in the Quality Blue Primary Care program notched a 25 percent improvement in diabetes care, 31 percent in high blood pressure care, 40 percent in vascular disease care and 69 percent in kidney disease care, the company said. In “people measures” that means more than 5,000 patients with high blood pressure lowered their numbers to a healthy level, said Dr. Paul Murphree, Blue Cross medical director.

“I tell people we saved the equivalent of the town of Port Allen,” Murphree said.

In addition, more than 130 diabetes patients got their blood pressure and sugar levels to a healthy range, more than 70 vascular disease patients returned to optimal levels and more than 530 kidney disease patients got their kidney function levels under control, Murphree said.

The Quality Blue program, launched in 2013, rewards physicians for meeting quality measures that help keep patients healthy. The program targets the chronically ill, whose health care costs are much higher.

“Chronic illnesses affect more than half of Louisianians and account for almost 70 percent of health care expenses each year,” said Mike Reitz, Blue Cross president and chief executive officer. “Quality Blue is our answer to help people become and stay healthy, which keeps their out-of-pocket costs down.”

Go to top