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California Business Coalition Receives National Award for Fostering Quality–Based Health Care Purchasing

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Pacific Business Group on Health Credited for Steering Employers and Consumers to High–Quality Health Plans, Hospitals and Physician Groups

San Francisco, CA, May 31, 2001 – For more than a decade, the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) has promoted what it calls "value purchasing" in health care–purchasing that factors quality accountability and improvement into the buying decision. It will be honored for its pioneering efforts in Washington, D.C., today when it receives the National Health Care Purchaser Award for 2001. The award recognizes organizations that demonstrate the use of better purchasing tools and techniques to promote quality for their employees.

The first annual award will be given by the National Health Care Purchasing Institute, a non–profit organization founded to improve health care quality by advancing the purchasing practices of major corporations and governmental agencies, particularly Fortune 500 companies, the Health Care Financing Administration, and public employers. PBGH was nominated for the award by Blue Cross of California.

"This award was earned by the 44 California purchasers in PBGH who individually and collectively seek to pay for performance in the health care they purchase for their employees, retirees and families," said Peter Lee, president of PBGH. "More than just trying to moderate costs, we want to drive measurable improvement in quality. One way is by collecting and reporting standardized information, which helps consumers make better decisions about their health care. And we know the information can guide health plans and providers in quality improvement." Lee also praised the other recipients of the award, which goes to five public sector and five private health care purchasers.

In selecting PBGH, the Institute cited the group's many strategies to encourage members to buy higher quality health care plans, as well as initiatives to recognize and reward superior provider performance.

"For more than a decade, the Pacific Business Group on Health has been providing California purchasers and consumers the tools they need to choose quality care at affordable prices," said Kevin B. Piper, director of the National Health Care Purchasing Institute. "This is an exemplary organization that we are pleased to recognize for its leadership in bringing quality into the health care purchasing equation."

PBGH is a leader in providing employers and consumers information on quality in health care. Initiatives include:

  • HealthScope—PBGH's online health information site provides an independent source of current standardized information to consumers, allowing them to compare quality of care provided by health plans, medical groups and hospitals in California.
  • Leapfrog Group—As a founding member of Leapfrog, PBGH is leading the California rollout of Leapfrog's national purchaser campaign to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors in U.S. hospitals.
  • Blue Ribbon Program—PBGH awards "Blue Ribbons" to one HMO and a small number of medical groups and hospitals that have demonstrated leadership in delivering high quality, affordable health care to patients.
  • Consumer HMO Report Card—PBGH is working with the Department of Managed Health Care to create the first state-sponsored health plan report card.
  • Consumer Assessment Survey—PBGH is fielding a standardized instrument for evaluating and publicly reporting patient experience with the quality of care received at the provider group level.

The National Health Care Purchasing Institute seeks to help health care purchasers save lives, buy higher quality health care, and empower consumers to choose higher quality health plans and providers. The Institute offerings include courses and workshops, technical assistance, convening of experts and working groups, research, and information. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsors the Institute through a grant to the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy.

Pacific Business Group on Health, a major non'profit coalition of 44 purchasers, is dedicated to improving healthcare quality while moderating cost. Its members annually spend more than $3 billion to provide health coverage to approximately 3 million employees, retirees and their families. PBGH seeks to promote health plan and provider accountability and to provide consumers with standardized, comparable data to make the best health care decisions at all levels of care. PBGH also operates PacAdvantage, a small group purchasing pool providing health insurance to more than 10,000 small employers in California, also known as the Health Insurance Plan of California.

Clark Miller
Senior Communications Manager
Pacific Business Group on Health
Telephone: (415) 615–6302
E–mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Nicole Kohleriter
Senior Communications Officer

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(415) 615-6331
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