In response to the "Tenn. Blues to list doctors' prices, ratings on Web":
Q: In response to the Tennessee Blue Cross and Blue Shield's decision to publish what is tantamount to doctors' fee schedules, why is this not a violation of the federal antitrust laws that prohibit doctors from sharing fee information?
Michael BryanPhysicianSouthlake, Texas
A: "We are concerned about the use of claims data as a measure of care. There are many factors affecting the clinical outcome of a patient including his or her medical history as well as adherence to the plan of care. We believe patients have a right to make an informed decision in choosing their physician and welcome their interest and participation in their treatment. The process of selecting a physician and receiving care however is not like buying a television. No universally measurable indicators have been presented to us which will be used to rate care. For instance, how will a general practitioner be measured against the specialist treating the sickest of patients? We have a number of questions regarding the use of this data and the process which will be used to ensure it presents accurate and understandable measures. The use of pricing data simply for the sake of selecting a physician is a misleading measure. We support the idea of transparency and believe as more practices move to an electronic medical record, it will become easier to gather and measure such data. Such an effort should be a joint one among all interested parties."
Stephen DickensPresidentTennessee Medical Group Management AssociationBrentwood, Tenn. To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title and hometown.