BCBSM Extends Commitment to Patients Health and Safety


DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan president and CEO, Daniel J. Loepp, will extend the company’s commitment to patient safety and health care quality activities through a third investment in the amount of $10 million. It will be implemented over the course of a five-year sponsorship of activities executed by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association Keystone Center. Today marks a 10-year collaboration of improving and transforming the delivery of health care, adding to the $12 million invested by the Blues over the past seven years of the partnership.

The ACA is transforming the health care industry, marking the biggest change since Medicare in the 1960s. The collaborative effort between these key health leaders serves as an important element of change underway, and has shown compelling results. The investment will enable the MHA Keystone Center, which was created in 2003 by Michigan hospitals, to launch projects aimed at improving patient safety and the quality of care delivered.

“The collaboration between MHA and the Blues is the cornerstone of a nationally recognized model for making hospital experiences safer and more efficient for patients,” Daniel J. Loepp said, BCBSM president and CEO. “Now, as the industry moves into a new way of operating, it is essential that we sustain momentum and push the envelope when it comes to patient safety and quality. Our continued investment and involvement with the MHA Keystone Center helps all Michigan hospitals in their efforts to improve systems of care, promote positive outcomes and transform the culture of health and health care.”

“Patient safety and quality is one area where necessary collaboration among providers and payers is without question,” said Spencer Johnson, MHA President. “BCBSM’s strong support of Michigan hospitals’ lifesaving, cost-reducing efforts through the MHA Keystone Center is even more profound when you consider that their investment goes beyond Michigan to the benefit of patients across the country and internationally where MHA Keystone Center practices are followed.”

Over the course of the seven year partnership, BCBSM and Michigan hospitals have shared successes in reducing risk and cost for patients.

  • A project aimed to reduce the incidence of central-line associated bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICUs had tremendous results, measured over a 12 month period, March 2010 to March 2011. The effort to reduce CLABSIs resulted in an estimated 36 lives saved and $6.4 million net savings. VAP patients also benefitted, with 79 lives saved, and a net savings of $2.2 million.
  • Lifesaving and cost-saving benefits of this same collaborative were highlighted in the “Business Case for Quality,” released in the September/October 2011 issue of the American Journal Medical Quality. The study determined that participating MHA hospitals on this initiative prevent between 3.4 and 7.2 CLABSI deaths annually and receive a 10 to 1 return on investment for implementation.
  • Results from an MHA Keystone Center surgery initiative focused on the safe handling of surgical specimens captured from May 2010 to May 2011, saw a defect rate decrease more than 50 percent, from 3.18 to 1.46 percent.
  • An MHA Keystone Center project focused on obstetrics resulted in a 51 percent improvement in five-minute Apgar scores indicating the health of newborns. Participating hospitals also reduced elective inductions before 39 weeks from roughly 2.9 percent to 1.7 percent, and reduced elective cesarean sections before 39 weeks from nearly 17.5 percent to 11.5 percent from March 2010 to March 2011.
  • An MHA Keystone Center project to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections has resulted in a 3 percent reduction in catheter use. It is estimated the project has reduced the number of patients with CA-UTIs by 10,000 and resulted in a savings of more than $10 million in unnecessary hospital costs.  

Since its founding, the MHA Keystone Center has convened almost every state hospital to participate in initiatives using evidence-based best practices to prevent infections, reduce complications and hospital inpatient days, improve patient safety and reduce unnecessary health care costs.

BCBSM’s continued commitment of funding will enable the MHA Keystone Center to continue or launch projects aimed at:

  • Improving patient and family engagement
  • Broadening the scope of MHA Keystone Center efforts across the continuum of care
  • Identifying opportunities to improve the quality of care and access for mental health patients
  • Improving event identification through electronic health records

The funding will help defray costs to hospitals for data collection and sharing, and implementing new processes and procedures to improve quality and safety.

The first MHA Keystone Center project, which continues today, is the MHA Keystone: ICU project to improve safety and reduce medical errors in the hospital intensive care units. Over the past several years, this project has saved thousands of lives and more than $300 million.