Buffalo, NY

Health Insurer Awards Hospitals $30 Million for Quality Improvements

Thirty-one upstate New York hospitals and health centers earned a combined $30 million in quality improvement payments from the Rochester-based health insurer that includes Univera Healthcare in Western New York. The funds are part of the nonprofit health insurer’s Hospital Performance Incentive Program which, since 2005, has paid out more than $371.2 million in quality improvement incentives. 

“It’s part of our mission to ensure that all in our communities have equitable access to high-quality health care,” said Melissa Gardner, executive vice president, and chief population health engagement officer at Univera Healthcare. “The foundation for achieving that is a collaborative relationship with our local hospital and physician partners.” 

Four hospitals and health systems in the Western New York region participated in this program in 2021, sharing $615,000 in quality improvement incentive payments. Participating hospitals included Erie County Medical Center, Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and UPMC Chautauqua.    

“In 2021, the Hospital Performance Incentive Program evaluated participating hospitals on projects that are in alignment with and responsive to the ever-changing health care environment,” said Lorna Fitzpatrick, M.D., Univera Healthcare vice president of medical affairs and senior medical director. “Although COVID is still a dominant issue for the hospitals, the best evidence that this collaboration is a success is that our partners are able to maintain focus on continuous quality improvement.”  

Areas targeted for improvement in 2021 included: 

  • Clinical Processes of Care – Focused on improvements in follow up after hospitalization, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), surgical care, and other measures unique to each participating hospital 
  • Patient Safety – Centered on reductions in hospital-acquired infections, readmissions, and other adverse events or errors that affect patient care
  • Patient Satisfaction – Used the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, which is a national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patient's perspectives on hospital care

In addition to meeting required clinical and patient safety measures in 2021, other nationally endorsed measures and target outcomes were jointly agreed upon by each hospital and the health insurer using benchmarks established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,  the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and others.

Peter Kates, (716) 857-4485

Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York. With more than 500 Buffalo-based employees and a local leadership team, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. Univera is part of a Rochester-based health insurer that serves more than 1.5 million members across upstate New York. Its mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care, and its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. To learn more, visit UniveraHealthcare.com.


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