The American Medical Association has sent letters to 45 health insurance companies nationwide asking them to verify that their physician rating programs are accurate by allowing outside experts to analyze them.
Some 47 state medical societies also signed the letters. The AMA said it is concerned that health plans are not providing customers with accurate information when the plans rate physicians based on cost and quality. Physician ratings have grown in popularity as insurers seek to provide more information to members and employers to help them evaluate the quality and cost of services.
The AMA cites a March study by the RAND Corp. published in the New England Journal of Medicine that indicated physician ratings by health insurers can be wrong up to two-thirds of the time for some groups of physicians.
“Patients should always be able to trust that insurers are providing accurate and reliable information on physicians,” AMA President Cecil Wilson said in a statement.
Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, said insurers are working closely with providers to develop these measures. "This is an ongoing process that is continually improving," he said.