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Study on the "Alternative Quality Contract" Wins Article of the Year

A Commonwealth–Fund supported study examining the effects of a global budget on health care spending and quality has won AcademyHealth's Article-of-the-Year Award for 2013. It was also featured in a special session at the organization’s Annual Research Meeting this past weekend. The study, by Zirui Song, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School and colleagues, was published in the July 11, 2012, issue of Health Affairs.

The winning article explores the effects of the "Alternative Quality Contract," an initiative launched by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts in 2009 to reward physician groups for controlling spending and improving care for a designated patient panel. The researchers found that the contract, which is similar to contracts used in accountable care organizations, led to average savings in total spending of 2.8 percent over two years, compared with control groups, as well as to improvements in chronic, preventive, and pediatric care.

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