Pay-for-performance programs are becoming more established, improving clinical quality and lowering costs, according to preliminary results of a new survey. The fourth annual survey on pay-for-performance programs by MedVantage and the Leapfrog Group showed increased satisfaction for physician and hospital pay-for-performance programs.
For instance, 56% of health plans surveyed said clinical quality improved in 2008 among participating physicians, compared with 37% of plans expressing improvement in 2006. A quarter of health plans said the programs lowered physician costs, compared with 15% in 2006. And 39% of plans said investment in health IT rose among participating physicians, compared with just 14% two years earlier.
Some 66 health plans responded to the survey, including Aetna, WellPoint and major Blues plans across the country. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association called on Blues plans to drive participation in the ongoing survey. The survey involved 68 physician pay-for-performance programs and 26 hospital pay-for-performance programs operated by the health plans.
Leah Binder, chief executive officer of the Leapfrog Group, said that because of the recession, health plans are aggressively looking for ways to cut costs. Pay-for-performance has gained a bit more recognition than it has in the past because of that, Binder said. The survey results were released at the National Pay for Performance Summit in San Francisco.