Doctor evaluations to become public this summer

Doctor evaluations to become public this summer




By July, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana plans to make public information it already collects about the quality and cost of the primary care doctors in its network. The information will be posted on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association website and accessible to anyone, says Dr. Ken Phenow, chief medical officer for BCBS of Louisiana. Eventually, Blue Cross plans to post similar information about hospitals and specialists, and about the cost of getting certain procedures from particular providers. Patients eventually will be able to post their own reviews of different providers—similar to the popular Angie's List website—and those reviews will be fact-checked, Phenow says. He says the data will be "risk adjusted" so that providers who accept the sickest patients will not be unfairly penalized. Blue Cross fully expects pushback from the medical community but hopes the information will spur competition among providers to be the best and most efficient. He says the standards were created with input from physicians. Over time, he says, employers will likely create incentives for their employees to use "premium" doctors over "non-premium" doctors. In other markets, about 50% to 60% of physicians tend to fall into the "premium" category, Phenow says. "This isn't to hurt doctors," Phenow says. "This is to help patients make better decisions." —David Jacobs



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