Through Bridges to Excellence (BTE), the nation’s most extensive effort to recognize and reward high-performing physicians, improve patient health and reduce costs of care, the first rewards are being paid in New Jersey to BTE-recognized doctors. The program was first launched in New Jersey in 2008 by a core group of employers, health plans and physicians working together to address specific goals and standards for quality care for diabetes. Almost 50 physicians will receive the initial incentives.
Verizon (a founding member of BTE), AstraZeneca, AtlantiCare, Novo Nordisk, Public Service Enterprise Group and Trump Entertainment Resorts were instrumental employers in bringing the program to New Jersey. Aetna is working with employers to include more New Jersey members in the program, including fully insured members, which has resulted in more opportunity for incentives for participating physicians. Other participating health plans are CIGNA, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and UnitedHealthcare, with Aetna, CIGNA and UnitedHealthcare paying initial rewards to physicians.
The physician community has also been receptive to BTE’s arrival, with efforts championed by medical groups such as Partners In Care, Corp. (PIC) and Vista Health System IPA. Both organizations have endorsed and are actively driving implementation of BTE in New Jersey.
The BTE Diabetes Care Link (DCL) program is designed to improve the quality of care for patients with diabetes. Physicians who demonstrate they are top performers in diabetes care and employ standards established by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (such as blood pressure and cholesterol control as well as annual foot and eye exams) can earn up to $100 for each diabetic patient covered by a participating employer. Participating employers fund these incentives from the savings they achieve through lower health care costs and increased employee productivity that results from delivery of higher quality diabetes care.