Alternative
Quality
Contract

We believe that doctors and hospitals should be rewarded for delivering high-quality patient care and for helping to keep our members healthy.

In 2008, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts developed an innovative way to pay for care that focuses on promoting quality and rewards positive health outcomes. Our Alternative Quality Contract (AQC) now includes about 90 percent of the physicians and hospitals in the Blue Cross HMO network. It is a crucial component of Blue Cross' agenda to make quality health care affordable for its members and employer customers and is the predominant contract model between Blue Cross and its network physicians and hospitals. The alternative payment model fosters shared responsibility for both improving care and moderating the unsustainable rate of increase in health care costs. The AQC is currently one of the largest private payment reform initiatives in the United States and has become a model for state and national policymakers.

Alternative Quality Contract Results

An October 2014 study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) shows that AQC has improved the quality of patient care and lowered costs in the four years since it was first implemented. The four-year study by Harvard Medical School researchers offers important lessons for payment reform efforts nationally. Watch this video to learn more about the results from the Harvard researchers.

Payment Reform on the Ground: Lessons from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Alternative Quality Contract

A 2015 paper by Avalere highlights that multiple peer-reviewed studies show that the AQC can reduce spending growth while improving quality of care. The report encourages health care leaders and policymakers to examine models like the AQC.

You can also learn more about our Alternative Quality Contract directly from:

Northeast Physician Hospital Association

Northeast Physician Hospital Association

The Northeast Physician Hospital Association Medical Director talks about their experience with the AQC.

 Children's Hospital

Children's Hospital

Children's Hospital Boston talks about their experience with the AQC.

Atrius Health

Atrius Health

Atrius Health talks about their experience with the AQC.

Lowell General Physician Hospital

Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization

Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization talks about their experience with the AQC.