COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Northwest Specialty Hospital, a Post Falls-based physician-owned hospital, is accelerating its drive to improve patient care and better manage costs by agreeing to fully embrace a new reimbursement model with Regence BlueShield of Idaho.

Regence’s Value-based Reimbursement model ties future contract rates with hospital performance on specific quality measures. The measures include 1) the hospital’s STAR “quality” rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems; 2) its publicly reported survey score of patient perspectives of hospital care; 3) its readmission rate; and 4) its number of returns to the operating room.

“Our physician owners and every team member at Northwest Specialty Hospital have long made the delivery of exceptional patient-centered care their top priority,” said Rick Rasmussen, Northwest Specialty Hospital CEO. “And that unwavering commitment to quality has paid off. We’re proud of the fact that this hospital is the only one in north Idaho to have achieved a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2014. We set the performance bar high for ourselves because we believe our patients deserve nothing less than the best from us.”  

Consumer groups, health insurers and individuals have long been pushing for availability of third-party “report cards” that allow health care consumers to make more informed choices about where they obtain needed medical services. In response, has begun offering a quarterly hospital comparison tool that combines multiple performance measures into a “STAR” rating system, where five stars is as good as it gets. Additionally, the Leapfrog Group measures and publicly reports on hospital performance through its annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey. The survey is a trusted, transparent and evidence-based national tool in which more than 1,500 hospitals voluntarily participate free of charge.

“We’re delighted to have a provider-partner in Northwest Specialty Hospital that welcomes the opportunity to be measured against high national standards and to prioritize legitimate patient concerns about cost, quality and transparency,” said Scott Kreiling, president of Regence BlueShield of Idaho. “Achieving a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – in particular – is an extraordinary achievement, and north Idaho residents are fortunate to have ready access to such a safe, high quality facility.”

This new Value-based Reimbursement agreement is the latest example of the successful roll-out of the comprehensive Accountable Health strategy within the Regence family of companies in Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Washington. Since 2007, Regence has worked with providers, employers and individual members throughout its four-state region to implement innovative collaborative care models.

About Northwest Specialty Hospital

Northwest Specialty Hospital is a physician-owned acute care hospital dedicated to helping patients sort through their healthcare and treatment options, and to providing personalized, compassionate care. Northwest Specialty Hospital strives to maintain a high nurse to patient ratio to ensure an exceptional level of personalized care. And the hospital is proud of its hard-won status as north Idaho’s only five-star rated hospital. Comprehensive services are offered in bariatrics, endoscopy, general surgery, neurosurgery & spine, orthopedics, plastic surgery, sleep center, nephrology, ear, nose & throat, family medicine, imaging, occupational medicine, oncology, pain management, podiatry, urgent care and internal medicine. Learn more at

About Regence BlueShield of Idaho

Regence BlueShield of Idaho, based in Lewiston, has been serving Idahoans for nearly 70 years and now provides more than 141,000 members with comprehensive health insurance solutions. As a nonprofit mutual insurance company and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers in Idaho and nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit or