Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Expands Partnership

$6 million expansion will support statewide efforts to save lives, improve health care quality and reduce medical costs

DETROIT, June 26, 2009 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has announced an expansion of its commitment to patient safety and health care quality activities through a second $6 million, five-year investment in activities by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality.

The investment aligns with the Blues’ long-standing social mission of working collaboratively to improve the health status of Michigan residents. It will help enable the MHA Keystone Center to sustain ongoing efforts and launch new projects aimed at improving patient safety and quality of care delivered at the bedside. Since the founding of the center by Michigan hospitals in 2003, nearly every Michigan hospital has participated in its collaboratives that share evidence-based best practices to prevent infections, reduce complications and hospital inpatient days, improve patient safety, and reduce health care costs.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is honored to expand our support of the MHA Keystone Center so that the excellent work of Michigan hospitals in improving health care safety and quality for Michigan residents can continue,” said BCBSM President & CEO Daniel J. Loepp. “This investment underscores BCBSM’s social mission to create stronger, healthier Michigan communities by improving the quality of health care and community health. The MHA Keystone Center projects have already delivered a phenomenal return in improving safety and quality.”

“The Michigan hospitals that participate in the MHA Keystone Center programs have achieved significant, measurable patient safety improvements — errors have been reduced and lives have been saved,” said Spencer Johnson, president of the MHA. “The support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is integral for the continuation and expansion of Michigan hospitals’ innovative patient safety efforts.”

BCBSM’s funding will support ongoing and new MHA Keystone Center projects including:

  • Reducing the number of hospital-associated infections
  • Improving care for mothers giving birth and their newborn babies
  • Improving emergency room flow and care

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

The MHA Keystone Center, BCBSM and Michigan hospitals have had success in earlier Keystone projects that have led to greater quality and safety at hospitals. The longest-running MHA Keystone Center project, MHA Keystone: ICU, improves safety and reduces medical errors in hospital intensive care units. In just four years, the project resulted in nearly 1,800 lives saved, 129,000 excess hospital days avoided and $247 million saved.

As a more recent example, an MHA Keystone Center project to reduce urinary tract infections acquired from hospital catheters is underway to achieve appropriate reductions in catheter use. Early calculations estimate the project has the potential to reduce the number of patients contracting catheter-associated urinary tract infections by thousands and generate a potential cost savings of more than $10 million over the course of one year.

“Statewide collaborations under the banner of the MHA Keystone Center have been instrumental in Michigan’s growing national reputation as a destination for world-class health care,” Loepp said. “The partnership between BCBSM, the MHA Keystone Center and Michigan hospitals is the best example of how collaboration between health plans, hospitals, doctors and other medical professionals can positively affect patient outcomes.”

Michigan Health & Hospital Association and MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality

The MHA is a state association, based in Lansing, which represents and supports Michigan hospitals, health systems and health care providers through education, advocacy and communication. The MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality was created in March 2003 as a not-for-profit division of the MHA Health Foundation and is headquartered at the MHA in Lansing. The MHA Keystone Center brings together hospitals, state and national experts and best-practice evidence to improve patient safety by addressing the quality of health care delivery at the bedside. For more information, visit

BCBSM Value Partnerships

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s support for the MHA Keystone Center aligns with the company’s Value Partnerships initiative. Value Partnerships is a collection of clinically oriented initiatives among Michigan physicians, hospitals and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Through collaboration and data sharing, the initiatives are improving clinical quality, decreasing complications, decreasing costs and improving health outcomes. More information can be found at:


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit

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