Covenant Health and MemorialCare Health System Receive National Honors for Improving Care Quality, Creating $20M in Savings

The Advisory Board Company recognizes two prominent health systems for successful collaboration with physicians

May 21, 2013, 13:30 ET from The Advisory Board Company

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Two prominent health systems were chosen from more than 1,000 hospitals nationwide to receive the 2013 Crimson Physician Partnership Awards presented today by The Advisory Board Company at its national Crimson® summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.


The Awards honored Covenant Health, a five-hospital system serving western Texas and eastern New Mexico, and MemorialCare Health System, an integrated delivery system that includes six hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties and more than 200 care sites throughout Southern California.  The Advisory Board Company, a global research, consulting, and technology firm that works with 4,100 organizations across health care and higher education, is based in Washington, D.C.

The Award, given at the Crimson Clinical Advantage Performance Summit, is in recognition of the health systems' outstanding partnerships with their physicians that have resulted in the delivery of higher quality care at a lower cost.  This has been accomplished by utilizing advanced technologies to analyze data and enable physicians to see how they compare to other physicians across the country in a number of clinical and other categories.

"As the nation's health care providers move toward new models of accountable care, these two remarkable health systems have achieved outcomes that go well beyond the national standards," said Paul Roscoe, CEO, Crimson.  "They have distinguished themselves with their quality of care initiatives while driving more than $20 million in aggregate savings."

In its fourth year, the Award is presented to executive and physician leadership teams at organizations that participate in The Advisory Board Company's Crimson physician performance management program.  Crimson combines a user-friendly and comprehensive physician technology platform, best-practice performance improvement support, and benchmarks.  The program's goal is to help align the efforts of physicians and health systems to deliver higher quality, more cost-effective care to the patients and populations they serve. 

Highlights of these two systems' results from Crimson-related initiatives include:

Covenant Health improved adherence to evidence-based medications by 24% and spent $3.9 million less than budget for its covered lives population by reducing preventable admissions by 1.1%, reducing advanced imaging by 3.6%, and increasing generics utilization by 3%.  Across all quality and utilization initiatives and contracts, Covenant documented an aggregated $5.6 million in savings in 2012.

MemorialCare Health System continues its long partnership with 2,500 affiliated physicians to constantly improve patient quality, safety and clinical outcomes that exceed national averages.  By engaging physician champions, educating medical staff, and making available individualized benchmarking data that Crimson displays on their patients, MemorialCare generated $15.3 million in savings for direct costs in 2012 compared to 2011 by reducing utilization and lengths of stay—all while improving demonstrated quality.

"Covenant Health and MemorialCare Health System have taken the lead in building a culture of collaboration and data-driven performance with physicians to greatly benefit patients and their communities," Roscoe added.  "These two institutions distinguish themselves from among the more than 1,000 hospitals, representing more than 500,000 physicians nationwide, participating in the Crimson program as leaders in care quality and effectiveness.  They serve as shining examples of how this extraordinary group of Crimson organizations is delivering on the promise of value-based care."

Covenant Health Identifies Opportunities in Population Health Management
Over the past six years, Covenant Health Partners (CHP), the clinically integrated physician network affiliated with Covenant Health, has worked with Crimson to engage physicians in establishing a culture of clinical quality and cost performance management.

Building upon this successful foundation of physician engagement, CHP uses the multiple Crimson solutions not only to support its hospital efficiency contracts, but also to perform against an increasing portfolio of at-risk populations.  

The physician committees guiding CHP's population health management efforts have piloted an integrated dashboard using both clinical and claims data found within the Crimson technology to provide a comprehensive look at physician performance and to identify opportunities for the health system's riskiest patients.  High-risk patients are enrolled in a new care management program, which aims to improve cross-continuum coordination for complex, resource-intensive patients through a combination of hospital bundled contracts, nurse care coordinators and patient navigator support.

"Some of the behavioral change of population health management is with physicians and some of it has to come from patients. We have learned a lot about how to work with our physicians and the patients," said John Grigson, CEO at Covenant Health Partners and CFO at Covenant Health.  "Crimson has enabled us to track our performance monthly against quality and per member-per month cost targets and other key metrics to aid our physician engagement."  It is anticipated that half of the system's $3.9 million in 2012 savings from population health management will be distributed to CHP physicians.

MemorialCare Health System Engages Physicians on Quality, Collaboration
MemorialCare Health System has long been committed to creating a culture of physician collaboration through its Physician Society, founded in 1996 as a voluntary membership organization focused on promoting clinical quality and advanced technology.  

In May 2011, MemorialCare Health System joined the Crimson program to assist physicians in the continued adoption of technology and data to, together, improve the quality of care across the enterprise.  As one of the first steps, system leaders solicited feedback from a pilot group of 50 physicians to help guide the larger system rollout.

MemorialCare cultivated physician ownership of the initiative with an organizational structure that included physician champions as well as lead physicians and "super" knowledgeable users at each hospital campus and care site to reinforce the supportive and collaborative approach.

"We decided in the initial design for our Crimson site to add direct variable cost as a utilization indicator that physicians could touch and impact," said Helen Macfie, Pharm.D., Senior Vice President, Performance Improvement and Strategy at MemorialCare.  "This required collaborative trust and was a transformational decision for our physician-hospital partnership. The ability to drill down to actual cost and frequency of use has become a conversation changer for our physicians."

MemorialCare made data transparency a priority in these initiatives and found ways to improve already-strong, individualized quality and cost data for physicians. As another benefit, the health system designed methods to integrate this data with its electronic medical records and other technologies.  

To download an infographic or see videos of the 2013 Crimson Physician Partnership Award-winning case studies, visit  Hospital and health system executives may register for two free Webconferences, "Engaging Physicians in Population Risk Management," with Covenant Health Partners' John Grigson and Chief Medical Officer David Gray, DO, on Thursday, June 13 at 3 pm EDT and "Leveraging Our Data-Driven Physician Culture," with MemorialCare Health System's Helen Macfie and Medical Director for Best Practice and Clinical Outcomes James Leo, MD, on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 1 pm EDT

About Covenant Health
Covenant Health is a member of St. Joseph Health, one of the most successful not-for-profit health systems in the United States. It was founded in 1998 through the merger of two of Lubbock's most venerable heath care facilities, St. Mary of the Plains Hospital and Lubbock Methodist Hospital System.  Covenant Health is the largest health care institution in the region with 1,326 licensed beds, more than 5,000 employees, and a medical staff of more than 600 physicians at its cornerstone facilities. Covenant serves a 62-county area spanning western Texas and eastern New Mexico, with a population in excess of 1.2 million. Cornerstone hospitals are Covenant Medical Center, Covenant Women's and Children's, and Covenant Specialty Hospital. Other system hospitals are Covenant Hospital Levelland and Covenant Hospital Plainview, along with 12 other affiliated hospitals across the region. For more information please visit

About MemorialCare Health System
MemorialCare Health System, a not-for-profit integrated delivery system with more than 11,000 employees and 2,500 physicians, includes 200 clinical care sites, six top hospitals —Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children 's Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente; a medical group—MemorialCare Medical Group; an Independent Practice Association (IPA)—Greater Newport Physicians; MemorialCare HealthExpress retail clinics; ambulatory surgery centers and numerous outpatient health facilities.  An innovator in health care delivery, MemorialCare focuses on evidence-based, best practice medicine where physicians and health professionals study best clinical practices and implement them at MemorialCare's sites with outcomes frequently exceeding state and national averages.  It was recently honored again with the Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognized 32 companies worldwide whose employee engagement results demonstrate they have the world's most productive and engaged workforces.  For more information, visit

About The Advisory Board Company
The Advisory Board Company is a global research, technology, and consulting firm partnering with 150,000 leaders across health care and higher education. Through its innovative membership model, the Company collaborates with executives and their teams to elevate performance and solve their most pressing challenges. The Company provides strategic guidance, actionable insights, web-based software solutions, and comprehensive implementation and management services. For more information, visit the firm's  website,

SOURCE The Advisory Board Company