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We’re adding new measures in 2023 to address health inequities
October 8, 2021

This article is for all providers

Last week we shared the results of a new analysis of racial and ethnic inequities in health care and became the first health plan in Massachusetts to announce that we’ll incorporate equity measures into our contracts and payment programs with clinicians.

We reviewed 2019 administrative and health data from more than 1.3 million Massachusetts members and identified racial disparities. In many cases, these disparities represent lower-quality care for Black, Asian, and Hispanic members on 48 industry-standard measures that Blue Cross tracks as part of its ongoing quality assurance operations.

The data are now accessible to the public on our home page under "Read our health equity report".

Data shared with our clinical partners

In addition to releasing these findings publicly, we shared more detailed data showing how your practices compare with others in terms of racial inequities in care. Blue Cross' employer customers will have the option of receiving similar data for their employees.

"We're committed to working collaboratively with the medical community to identify the underlying causes of racial inequities and to find ways to close these gaps," said Dr. Sandhya Rao, Blue Cross' chief medical officer. "We know clinicians can't do this alone – we have a shared responsibility to address and eliminate inequities, and our collective efforts will ultimately improve health care for all our members, across every racial and ethnic group."

Equity measures and payment models

One of the primary ways Blue Cross will address inequities in its members' care is by incorporating equity measures into our payment models starting in 2023.

Blue Cross and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) this month launched a new collaborative intended to assist physicians and hospitals enrolled in our value-based payment model in their efforts to improve the equity of care and prepare them for equity-based financial incentives linked to improvements in racial inequities in care.

Commitment to addressing health inequities and racial justice 

Blue Cross' recent work to address racial inequities also includes launching a fully in-house Spanish-language member call center and making its website available in five additional languages – Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese (Simplified), and Vietnamese.

We also supported a variety of statewide efforts to help provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, including funding transportation, sponsoring the Vax Express, and partnering with Equity Now & Beyond to host vaccine clinics and provide educational outreach in immigrant communities across Massachusetts.

Learn more

To learn more about the analysis, its methodology, and what we’re doing to address health inequities and racial justice, please: