HCA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Bovender Jr. called on Congress to create a special board to come up with a standard set of quality measures for the pay-for-performance programs mushrooming nationwide. Speaking at the Healthcare Financial Management Association's 2004 Annual National Institute in Nashville, Bovender said that absent such an organized approach, healthcare providers would face higher administrative costs as they try to comply with the differing data requirements of myriad pay-for-performance programs. "It would be entirely appropriate and productive for Congress to step in and form a board to say here's how we're going to come up with measurements and here's how we can equally apply them across all providers," he said.
Bovender was part of an expert panel on the pros and cons of pay-for-performance programs, which reward providers that achieve better clinical outcomes with bonuses or higher reimbursement and sometimes reduce reimbursement for providers with worse outcomes. Panelist Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, agreed that the industry needs a consensus on the appropriate structure for such programs. "We have all these silos going up -- Leapfrog, individual consulting companies, government agencies, employer groups -- all are starting down different paths," Ignagni said. While supporting a public-private partnership to address the issues involved, Ignagni stopped short of endorsing a congressionally mandated task force. She did not indicate whether AHIP had the power or intent to push insurers to agree on parameters for programs. -- by David Burda and Mary Chris Jaklevic