April 30th, 2010
Reports the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In a bid to boost beleaguered primary-care doctors and encourage more preventive care for the public, Independence Blue Cross announced a plan Thursday to pay physicians more if their patients’ health improves.
Independence, the region’s largest health insurer, will spend an extra $47 million a year to increase base pay and double incentive programs that already encourage primary-care doctors to deliver higher quality and less costly care.
Starting July 1, a doctor with 850 Keystone HMO patients could earn up to $150,000 more a year, said Steven Udvarhelyi, executive vice president of health services at Independence.
“We think this is a significant opportunity for primary care physicians who are doing a good job,” he said. “It is a great incentive for them to improve over time.”
Eric Grossman, a senior partner at the consulting firm Mercer, in Norwalk, Conn., said that while insurers have dabbled with so-called pay-for-performance models, Independence’s effort was a significant development.
The insurer “has definitely, by this announcement, inserted themselves into the early adopters of that movement,” Grossman said.