; Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Louisiana Hosts Healthcare Quality Symposium
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Press Release

Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Louisiana Hosts Healthcare Quality Symposium

Insurer supports infection prevention initiative with grants to hospitals statewide

February 9, 2012

BATON ROUGE – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana yesterday hosted its second Louisiana Hospital Quality Initiative (LHQI) symposium as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of healthcare in Louisiana.

In late 2010, Blue Cross provided $1.5 million in grants to 27 hospitals around the state to research, identify and reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections in Louisiana. Through the company’s Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Initiative, Blue Cross aims to reduce unnecessary morbidity, mortality and cost resulting from preventable healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Research indicates that HAIs affect 29,000 patients annually in Louisiana. In 2010, nearly 2,500 Louisianians died from unnecessary healthcare-associated infections. On average, these infections increase hospital stays by 251,800 days a year and cost an additional $404 million. Blue Cross’ mission is to improve the lives of all Louisianians by providing affordable access to quality healthcare—with quality and affordability being both very important and, as research shows, interconnected.

“Most healthcare-associated infections are preventable precisely because they stem from correctable process breakdowns like poor sterilization technique or improperly cleaned equipment,” says Dr. Dwight Brower, medical director at Blue Cross. “If we are willing to invest in the technology necessary to figure out where hospitals have gaps in patient care, we can develop the best practices that will fight unnecessary infections.”

Some of these best practices were discussed by the speakers at yesterday’s symposium, which included two nationally recognized infection control specialists and Leslie Gemmill, infection preventionist at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

To reduce infections, hospitals must be able to first track their origin—a complicated process that can be time-consuming and costly. Through its grant program, Blue Cross offered a diverse group of full-service, acute-care Louisiana hospitals the funding necessary to pilot leading-edge technology provided by CareFusion MedMined Services.

The Feb. 8 event was designed to help the participating hospitals make the most of the software as well as network with their colleagues and share knowledge. The Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Initiative is part of Blue Cross’ Quality Blue suite of programs all designed to invest in quality healthcare and reward the healthcare providers who deliver high-quality care. For more on Quality Blue, visit the company’s Quality Blue web page.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the oldest and largest Louisiana-based health insurance company. Blue Cross is a private, fully taxed mutual company, owned by policyholders—not shareholders—and governed by a local Board of Directors. It is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

The company provides group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to more than one out of every four Louisiana residents. With headquarters in Baton Rouge and eight district offices, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana employs more than 1,900 Louisianians who are committed to improving the lives of its customers by providing them with health guidance and affordable access to quality care.

Learn more on the company’s website at www.bcbsla.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bluecrossla. Follow Blue Cross on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BCBSLA and CEO Mike Reitz at www.twitter.com/MikeReitzCEO

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.