BCBS of Illinois to pay hospitals $100M to improve health equity

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois launched a new program to financially reward hospitals for reducing their patients' health disparities.

BCBS of Illinois said Oct. 28 that health disparities related to the COVID-19 pandemic led the insurer to create its Health Equity Hospital Quality Incentive Pilot Program. In Chicago, Black residents represent 40 percent of the city's COVID-19 deaths, and Latinos have the highest rate of infection.

The program's first priority is to support hospitals with the highest concentration of BCBSIL members who are at risk of contracting COVID-19. Hospitals that join the equity program must commit to reducing health disparities for BCBSIL patients over the next three years. BCBSIL said it will add to and replace existing bonus structures with the new program, and about $100 million in funding will go to hospitals that participate in the program.

Memorial Health System in Springfield, Ill., and UI Health in Chicago have joined the initiative. 

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