Highmark Inc., the largest health insurer in Pennsylvania based on membership, is working collaboratively with area hospitals in an effort to ensure high-quality patient care and a lower rate of hospital-acquired infections, especially central line associated bloodstream infections. In fact, reducing the number of infections during a hospital stay is a primary focus of our QualityBLUE pay-for-performance program that aligns reimbursement to hospitals with high-quality care and improved outcomes for patients.
I am pleased to point out that during the past three years, the 52 Western and Central Pennsylvania and West Virginia participants in Highmark's QualityBLUE program have prevented 1,020 potential central line bloodstream infections, resulting in a savings of $37.5 million in avoided care costs. More important, as many as 255 lives were saved, which represents the lives of everyone admitted to those hospitals, not just Highmark members.
In addition, representatives from 15 other Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans from around the country recently came to Pittsburgh to learn more about Highmark's efforts in this area. While other insurers have these kinds of programs, Highmark is unique because of its ongoing high level of cooperation with participating hospitals. This cooperation has helped make Highmark's program a model that other insurers are trying to follow.
DONALD R. FISCHER, M.D.
Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer