Aetna, under pressure from the New York Attorney General’s office, has agreed to change its physician quality ranking system. This follows a similar move by Cigna about two weeks ago. Both UnitedHealth and WellPoint BS/BC are the remaining hold-outs, but I expect them to follow suit in the near future.
What is interesting about the Aetna announcement was that they not only agree to comply with New York state, but stated that it would reassess its program nationwide. After the Aetna announcement, Cigna also stated that it to would also reassess its ranking system nationwide. In their previous announcement, Cigna agreed to only look at how it assessed physicians in New York.
From this vantage point it looks like we may actually move towards some consistency in quality rankings, though it remains to be seen how consistent those rankings would be from one payer to the next. Hopefully, a federal agency such as AHRQ will step in to assist payers in establishing clear, agreed to metrics across the industry by which all providers will be measured and reported.