System seeks compliance
* The Robert Wood Johnson Health Network, New Brunswick, N.J., said its seven hospitals will spend $40 million to become compliant with Leapfrog Group standards. The hospitals are pledged to initiate computerized physician order entry, provide full-time intensivist coverage in medical and surgical units and meet minimum volume standards for six surgical procedures. The money will come from the operating budgets of the hospitals, which already are in varying degrees of compliance, said Harvey Holzberg, president of the network and president and chief executive officer of 445-bed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the network's anchor. The network is scheduled to make a formal announcement of the plan this week. The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of Fortune 500 employers pushing providers to adopt certain standards to improve patient safety.
Physicians can get bonuses
* Blue Cross of California will pay bonuses to physicians who earn high marks on a quality scorecard that includes 16 clinical measures, including breast cancer screening, childhood immunizations and management of chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. The plan, announced last week, is an expansion of an effort launched earlier this year by a consortium of California health plans, including Blue Cross. Under the Pay for Performance initiative, the insurers created a statewide pool of funds to pay bonuses to doctors groups that do well on standardized quality tests. Blue Cross' new initiative, called the PPO Physician Quality and Incentive Program, will involve many more doctors, potentially much of the insurer's 43,000-physician California provider network. The results of scorecards will not be available to consumers. Individual doctors could earn bonuses of as much as $5,000 per year.