New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has reached agreements with UnitedHealth Group and Group Health /Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York over their physician ranking programs, following in the footsteps of other major insurers.
Under the terms of the agreements, the insurers promised to adopt measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum and other reputable national standards in their physician ranking programs. The insurers will use risk-adjustment and valid-sampling data to compare physicians and disclose to consumers and physicians details on the ranking design. A ratings examiner, paid for by the insurers, will oversee compliance and report to the attorney generals office every six months.
Aetna, Cigna and Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its parent company WellPoint, have reached similar agreements with Cuomo. Other investigations are still ongoing.
Cuomo had questioned the insurers over their physician ranking programs, saying they may confuse or deceive consumers because of their design, and may be ranking physicians based on cost of services as opposed to quality and other factors.
This is good news for consumers who need information tools to help guide them through the health system and for physicians who deserve useful and accurate feedback, Reed Tuckson, executive vice president and chief of medical affairs for UnitedHealth Group said in a written statement. -- by Rebecca Vesely