Illinois Blues putting $100 million behind health equity effort

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, Illinois Blues putting $100 million behind health equity effort

Blue Cross & Blue Protect of Illinois is piloting new packages to enhance well being outcomes for minorities and improve racial and ethnic variety amongst medical professionals.

The initiatives come amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected folks of colour and highlighted longstanding disparities in entry to meals, housing, schooling, security and wealth. Such inequities led Illinois’ dominant insurer to develop the Well being Fairness Hospital High quality Incentive Program, stated Salma Khaleq, vp of supplier technique and partnerships for Blue Cross & Blue Protect of Illinois.


The aim is to work intently with Illinois hospitals that serve giant numbers of Blue Cross members in communities with folks most prone to contracting COVID-19 and, in the end, cut back racial and ethnic disparities in care.

To enhance medical look after minorities and susceptible populations, the value-based, three-year pilot program can pay docs extra for reaching sure metrics, similar to assembly maternal well being care necessities and equitably implementing telehealth, Khaleq stated. 

“Pre-COVID we have been taking a look at (creating) a broader high quality program” with an fairness element, Khaleq stated. “Put up-COVID we pivoted this system to be 100 p.c targeted on fairness. All of us intrinsically know that systemic racism and discrimination play out in well being care outcomes for communities of colour. . . .We actually felt that on this area, Blue Cross can put some behind supplier organizations which can be dedicated to working with us to handle these points.”

Blue Cross is working with taking part hospitals and well being programs—at the least 10 have been invited to hitch this system up to now—to implement the inducement program, which collectively will present about $100 million in funding.

College of Illinois Hospital on Chicago’s Close to West Aspect and Springfield-based Memorial Well being System are the first to hitch, the insurer stated at the moment.

“We can’t obtain our mission with out acknowledging and addressing the obstacles to care created by systemic racism and different types of discrimination inherent in our tradition and communities,” Memorial Well being System CEO Ed Curtis stated in an announcement from the insurer. “We’re happy that Blue Cross & Blue Protect of Illinois additionally has dedicated to supporting suppliers in our work to get rid of these disparities.”

The opposite program Blue Cross is piloting, the Institute for Doctor Variety, goals to extend racial and ethnic variety amongst docs.

The institute will work with hospitals and well being programs to speed up the recruitment of medical college students, resident physicians and scientific college who’re underrepresented in medication. 

“Our doctor workforce doesn’t signify the racial and ethnic variety of our state and this situation shouldn’t be distinctive to Illinois,” Dr. Derek Robinson, chief medical officer for Blue Cross & Blue Protect of Illinois, stated within the assertion. “We’ve got an obligation as a well being insurer to assist speed up the efforts of our medical schooling group to handle this structural disparity.” 


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