Aligning financial incentives with "Get With The Guidelines" to improve cardiovascular care

Am J Manag Care. 2004 Jul;10(7 Pt 2):501-4.


Objective: To describe the impact of a commercial insurer's financial incentives to hospitals in conjunction with collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) to accelerate implementation of Get With The Guidelines-Coronary Artery Disease (GWTG-CAD), a quality improvement program to rapidly improve cardiovascular secondary prevention in hospitalized patients.

Study design: Observational assessment of quality improvement program participation and implementation in response to financial incentives.

Methods: The study population included all hospitals that participated with the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Hawaii) Hospital Quality and Service Recognition Program and had more than 30 annual admissions for acute coronary artery disease. These 13 hospitals were given encouragement and financial incentives to implement GWTG-CAD. Financial incentives were determined by a prorated amount of the total HMSA hospital reimbursement for all acute services, as part of a more comprehensive hospital "pay for performance" program.

Results: Incentives to 10 of 13 eligible hospitals included reimbursement for half the annual cost of the AHA Patient Management Tool. In addition, HMSA's pay for performance program--the Hospital Quality and Service Recognition Program--distributed monetary awards totaling 354,883 dollars, based on points awarded for GWTG-CAD workshop attendance documentation (10 hospitals), recognition by the AHA as a GWTG-CAD hospital, and attainment of 85% adherence to the GWTG-CAD performance measures (4 hospitals).

Conclusions: Community-based promotion of GWTG-CAD and financial incentives provided by a commercial insurer resulted in the rapid implementation of a secondary prevention program for coronary artery disease in most hospitals in the State of Hawaii within a single year.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy*
  • Economics, Hospital*
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hawaii
  • Health Services Research
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Motivation*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*