Blue Cross Blue Shield and Beth Israel Deaconess sign Alternative Quality Contract

Blue Cross Blue Shielf of Massachusetts and Beth Israel Deaconess Physician Organization have signed a multi-year Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), a modified global payment model designed to encourage cost-effective and patient-centered care by paying participating physicians and hospitals for the quality, not the quantity of the care they deliver to patients, according to a press release by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. 

The press release states that the AQC is a significant change from traditional fee-for-service contracts and includes a global, payment per patient adjusted for age, sex, and health status as well as payments tied to performance on nationally accepted measures of quality, health outcomes, and patient care experiences. The contract’s global payment covers all services received by a patient, including primary, specialty, and hospital care.

The hope is that physicians will spend more time up front to manage chronic medical conditions, which will improve patient outcomes as well as lower costs.

(Sources: WBUR,, December 10, 2010; Beth Israel Deaconess News Release,, December 10, 2010; The Boston Globe,, December 10, 2010)