IndyStar.com reports on a pilot project to rate doctors on peformance which will be available soon in Indiana. The electronic report is designed to let primary-care physicians know how they are doing in making sure patients with certain conditions or risk factors get recommended follow-up tests or treatments. This pilot project, involving Medicare and the nonprofit corporation Indiana Health Information Exchange, combines data from Medicare patients with data from benefits providers such as Medicaid, M-Plan and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to produce reports measuring the performance of individual physicians. The physician-performance data eventually could be made publicly available, although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave no specific timetable.
A new online report card comparing the performance of more than 200 hospitals across the Californian state follows a growing trend by the federal government and more than a dozen states to provide consumers with more public information about the quality of health care at hospitals. The new California consumer oriented hospital report card, www.CalHospitalCompare.org, tracks 50 performance indicators, assessing patient satisfaction and care for medical conditions and services such as heart disease and maternity.
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United Press International: A new study published this month in Health Affairs shows that three of four U.S. primary-care doctors think financial rewards would improve medical services but worry that public reporting would jeopardize care. The study indicates that physicians were not satisfied that P4P schemes would measure the right factors in the right way.
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eHealth Smartbrief: The hospital chain will be telling its patients in advance how much they will pay for procedures, under a new program that began as a trial in October. The program is due to be in operation at most of HCA's 165 U.S. hospitals by midsummer, and a range of prices for the most common procedures will be posted on hospital Web sites.
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New York employers are joining a growing number of states and companies that are pledging to make quality and price information available to health plan enrollees in order to enable them to compare providers when they purchase health care services.
In a meeting on 02/14/2007 in New York City with HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, executives from New York businesses signed statements of support for a national initiative aimed at improving health care quality, information and cost-effectiveness for employees and their families. Employers signing on include Aetna, New York Life Insurance Company, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, American International Group, Inc., KeySpan, IPRO, STV Inc., Group Health Inc., CIGNA Health Plan of New York, Verizon Communications, Inc., AmeriChoice of New York, New York Health Plan Association, Siemens Corporation, New York Business Group on Health, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Business Council of New York State, Alcoa Inc., Loews Corporation, Partnership for New York City and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The National Conference of State Legislatures provides summaries of laws affecting disclosure, transparency, reporting and/or publication of hospital and health care charges and fees:
- 34 states have passed or pending statues requiring hospitals to report information on hospital charges or payment rates.
- 22 of these states have regulations stipulating the information hospitals must report.
Kaisernetwork.org reports: Massachusetts will begin to publish patient mortality rates for individual heart surgeons December 18. The state already publishes information on hospitals and physician groups as part of a 2000 state law, but data on individual physicians was not published because health officials believed hospitals and state agencies would use physician data internally to improve the quality of care. However, state officials changed their minds amid a "growing push" from employers, insurers, Medicare and Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) administration to "more fully disclose medical care data," according to the Globe. Read more at http://www.nyshaf.org/index/news/id.2032/offset.0
Health insurers are beginning to reveal the costs of health care services, a move that might "ultimately change what providers charge and how much consumers pay," the Miami Herald reports.
Charges for services can vary by as much as 30% depending on the provider, according to Cigna. Cigna spokesperson Joe Mondy said providing price information to consumers "helps provide clarity on how much things cost." In January 2007, Cigna in 58 markets will begin to offer the Cigna Care Network, which will include doctors who score well on quality and cost-efficiency measures.
Waukesha Memorial publishes their charges for a range of their most commonly performed DRGs. Interestingly, they took the data from the Wisconsin public report on charges from the WHA, and published it on their own hospital Web site. From their Web page: "We hope this charge data, presented in a factual way, will help make choosing a hospital a little bit simpler for you. You have a right to know."
Illinois Dept of Public Health has updated their quarterly nursing home inspections/complaints violations report at their Web site
In this Interactive Consumer Guide to HMOs you will find easy-to-read tables comparing HMO performance and premiums, historical complaint data and tips on how to choose an HMO.
Kaisernetwork.org reports: "Mortality rates of patients being treated at hospitals that ranked high on a CMS Web site of quality-of-care measures were only slightly better than for patients being treated at the lowest-ranked hospitals, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Washington Post reports (Lee, Washington Post, 12/13). For the
Newsday.com reports: "A new Web site ranks nursing homes in New York state on measures including whether residents were depressed, physically restrained or spent most of their time in bed.
The updated Nursing Home Profile, found at www.nyhealth.gov, also lets users access inspection reports and a home's history of complaints.
Other measures include the percentage of residents who were given flu vaccines and whose need for help with daily activities has gone up. The 19 quality measures were not previously listed on the site.