WellPoint quality program spreads to N.H.

Nearly 80 hospitals on the East Coast, including New Hampshire, have signed up to participate in WellPoint’s hospital quality program.

Quality Insights Hospital Program, or Q-HIP, was launched in 2003 in Virginia and was rolled out recently to the rest of the insurer’s eastern region. Participating hospitals receive financial incentives for meeting specific performance improvement benchmarks.

The indicators focus on patients who have been diagnosed with a heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia, and concentrate on three areas:

• Patient safety, such as using a computerized physician order entry system
• Clinical outcomes, such as receiving aspirin or other heart-protective medications for appropriate cardiac conditions
• Patient satisfaction levels as determined by member surveys

The indicators were developed by recognized health-care authorities including the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Leapfrog Group and associations such as the American College of Cardiology.

Anthem officials said Concord Hospital is the only hospital in New Hampshire currently signed up for Q-HIP, but the insurer expects other hospitals to enroll as they consider the program during contract negotiations with Anthem.

Anthem operations in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine also are collaborating with primary-care providers on quality measures through Anthem’s Quality Insights Program for physicians.

Since the hospital quality program began, WellPoint has awarded $18 million to participating hospitals, the company said. – CINDY KIBBE

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