BlueCompare for Hospitals Frequently Asked Questions


The 2015 BlueQ Scorecard reports were distributed to the medical/surgical general acute care hospitals in October 2015.  The BlueQ Ribbon results will be published to Provider Finder in January 2016.  Additions to the 2015 BlueQ Scorecard include:

  • Added the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ) as an additional source for points earned in the Hospital Accreditation section. Website
  • Added the CMS Pregnancy and Delivery Care measure “Percent of Newborns Whose Deliveries Were Scheduled Too Early (1-3 Weeks Early) When Scheduled Delivery Was Not Medically Necessary (Lower is Better)” to the CMS Process Indicators section.
  • Added Blue Distinction Center® + (BDC+) recognition to the Blue Distinction bonus point category “Blue Distinction Centers (BDC and BCC+).”
  • Moved “Hospital Based Providers Percent of OON Billed – Bonus Points” from Voluntary Participation section to Scored section.  This section has a value of 6 points.

Deleted the Pneumonia measure “Patients Having a Blood Culture Performed Prior to the First Antibiotics Received in the Hospital” from the CMS Process Indicators section, as it is no longer collected and reported by CMS.

The BlueQ Ribbon is a value assigned based on the BlueQ Hospital Scorecard performance and is determined by comparing a hospital’s performance on publicly available measures within a geographic region. BlueQ Ribbons are displayed in Provider Finder. Ribbon values are dark blue, light blue and clear. If a hospital cannot be scored for a BlueQ Ribbon, then a Not Enough Data icon will be assigned. A hospital also has the option to not display their BlueQ Ribbon and in that case, an icon indicating an Opt Out is present in Provider Finder.

The BlueCompare Affordability Scale compares medical/surgical general acute care hospitals on medical/surgical costs for inpatient admissions and outpatient services. The average cost of inpatient stays and outpatient services is adjusted so hospitals performing more complex procedures on sicker patients can be reasonably compared to hospitals performing less complex procedures on less sick patients. The costs analyzed include all services provided by the hospital during an inpatient stay, such as labs, X-rays, and medications, as well as the room and board charges, and all services provided in the outpatient setting.

A hospital may not have a BlueQ Ribbon if:

  • The hospital did not have sufficient data at the time of measurement
  • The hospital is not a medical/surgical general acute care facility.

Medical/Surgical general acute care hospitals are evaluated on an annual basis, with BlueQ reports, BlueQ Ribbons and Affordability Scale information communicated annually in the Fall. BlueCompare results are posted to Provider Finder around the beginning of the following year.

In order to be evaluated for an Affordability Scale, a medical/surgical general acute care hospital must have data available to measure affordability for an inpatient and/or outpatient admission. An Affordability symbol is not displayed for general acute care hospitals that do not have sufficient data for assessment.

Hospitals or facilities that are not classified as a medical/surgical general acute care hospital on BCBSTX Provider Finder did not receive a report. Examples include pediatric hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and psychiatric hospitals.

According to Leapfrog's website and the Hospital Quality and Safety Survey FAQs, hospitals that should report to Leapfrog include acute care and short term general acute care hospitals. Leapfrog does not specify the number of beds a hospital must have to report survey results.

According to the Leapfrog website, hospitals should have submitted a 2014 survey by June 30, 2015 to be included in Leapfrog’s first release of the 2014 survey results. Those results were released in late July and fully replaced the 2013 survey results. BCBSTX sourced results for the 2014 BlueQ report from Leapfrog’s website as of August 2015.

Yes, a medical/surgical general acute care hospital can choose to opt out of the BlueQ Ribbon display in Provider Finder. The opt out form, included in the Blue Compare distirbution, must be completed and submitted. Opting Out is available for the BlueQ Ribbon only, not the affordability Scale.

The national, state, and hospital rates shown on the BlueQ scorecard are averages provided by CMS and HCAHPS. The number of points a hospital earns for a measure is based on the percentile in which the hospital rate falls. In some cases, a hospital's rate for a particular measure can be higher than the state or national average, but still not be in the percentile to qualify for the maximum number of points.