Blue Cross Blue Shield Announces Plan For New Equity Measures

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio)— Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced Thursday its plan to become the first healthcare company in the state to incorporate equity measures into its health plan.

This announcement comes as the company released the results of a study on racial and ethnic inequalities in healthcare. The study analyzed administrative and health data from 2019 from more than 1.3 million members and found multiple disparities that showed lower-quality care for Black, Asian, and Hispanic patients.

“It has long been known that racial inequities have devastating consequences across American health care, and the pandemic has made that clear to all of us in the past year,” Blue Cross president and CEO Andrew Dreyfus said in a press release.

“Measurement is a critical first step in addressing those disparities. We’re publishing these results to hold ourselves accountable for progress toward our goal of eliminating racial inequities in the care our members receive.”

Some results of the study found that pregnant Black women suffer life-threatening medical issues during childbirth at more than double the rate of other demographics. They also found that Black and Hispanic patients were 15 to 20 percent less likely to receive recommended antidepressant medication than White non-Hispanic members.

But how will Blue Cross Blue Shield use this data to impact the way it cares for its patients?

The healthcare company said it will begin incorporating equity measures into its pay models beginning in 2023. This will involve offering equity-based payment incentives to doctors and hospitals that make improvements in bridging the racial gap in healthcare.

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