The Center for Healthcare Organization and Innovation Research (CHOIR) has been awarded a two-year $397,090 grant by the Commonwealth Fund. CHOIR—led by Hector Rodriguez, UC Berkeley School of Public Health professor of health policy and management—will conduct an independent external evaluation of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts’ (BCBSMA) efforts to advance health equity. Co-investigators on the project include Assistant Professor Amanda Brewster and Associate Adjunct Professor Timothy Brown. CHOIR will examine health system and medical group responses to new payment incentives and technical assistance, with the aim of addressing racial and ethnic inequities in the quality of care.
BCBSMA introduced its Alternative Quality Contract (AQC) in 2009 and changed a century-old medical reimbursement system from one based primarily on fee-for-service for doctor visits, tests, and hospital admissions to one based on the quality of care, health outcomes, and patient experience. By linking financial incentives to clinical quality, patient outcomes and overall resource use, the AQC has moderated cost growth, while producing significant improvements in the quality of patient care.