Earlier this summer, the New York Attorney General took on the major healthcare insurers, Aetna, Cigna, United Health and WellPoint’s Empire BC/BS by putting them on notice that the Attorney General’s office was investigating how these companies were rating healthcare providers. Apparently, while these insurers were out their promoting cost and quality transparency, the foundation of Pay for Performance (P4P) initiatives, it appears that they were not being all that transparent themselves in divulging how they themselves were rating providers.
Yesterday, the Attorney General’s office and Cigna announced that they have reached an agreement whereby Cigna will fully disclosed its Doctors’ rating system to both consumers and providers and allow an independent third party monitor its reporting system. This agreement appears to be quite extensive and if other insurers agree to similar arrangements (they are still in negotiation with the other insurers), it could quite possibly become a national standard.
Some doctors may not like the whole P4P push seeing it as only another attempt by insurers to squeeze them, but with costs continuing to spiral upward and consumers being asked to take on greater responsibility for their healthcare, such rating systems will become more the norm than the exception. It is time to accept P4P as a course of doing business and providers will need to begin getting their internal systems in order to insure that their quality and cost of care does not compromise them in such rankings.
And providers do have some time. Jeffrey Kang, Cigna’s CMO stated this this new ranking system will not be deployed until late 2008 when they perform their annual physician reviews.