Three Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Quality Programs Approved for National Research

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DETROIT (Nov. 3, 2010) – Researchers from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University have been awarded a total of $2,741,501 for three research studies to evaluate several aspects of the Michigan Blues’ Value Partnerships programs. The highly competitive research grants will allow experienced, outside researchers to test and validate several collaborative quality programs run by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and determine their relevance on a national scale.

First, with a $405,000, three-year grant from The Commonwealth Fund, principal investigators from the University of Michigan will examine the effectiveness of the Physician Group Incentive program, and evaluate the PGIP initiatives’ impact on the quality, cost and efficiency of care provided by Michigan physicians.

“We will look closely at the collaborative nature of the PGIP program, to understand the ways in which physicians and payers can work together to achieve outcomes that benefit all,” says Christy Lemak, PhD, principal investigator for the study. Second, with a $477,496, three-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, investigators from the University of Michigan will study physicians’ progress on transforming their practices into the Blues’ Patient Centered Medical Home model. Researchers will investigate how practices have succeeded, and identify the processes, tools and resources that have contributed to their success. “The doctors and physician organizations in the Blue Cross PCMH program have valuable insights that will help other PCMH programs throughout the country,” says Chris Wise, PhD, principal investigator for the study.

Finally, a $1,859,005, three-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will allow researchers from Michigan State University to compare care management programs delivered through a doctor’s office with similar programs delivered through a health plan – in this case, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The study will seek to determine which is more effective in terms of care management, clinical health indicators, and appropriate use of health services.

“An in-depth study like this has not been done before,” says Jodi Holtrop, PhD, principal investigator. “This study may provide evidence to support the efforts of primary care practices to offer care management programs directly, which may give patients better integrated care.”

Blue Cross staff members are co-investigators and consultants in these studies; they contributed their expertise in clinical program development, study design and statistical methods to secure these grants.

“These research studies will help health care providers and policy makers understand how our collaborative physician partnerships work to improve the primary care system,” says David Share, MD, MPH, executive medical director, health care quality.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Value Partnerships is a collection of collaborative initiatives among physicians, hospitals and the Michigan Blues, all aimed at improving quality in medical care. To learn more about this comprehensive effort, go to www.valuepartnerships.com.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a nonprofit corporation and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.

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