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Brenda Fulmer
Brenda Fulmer
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National Standards Planned to Measure Physician Performance

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According
to an article published April 1, 2008, in the New York Times, a national set of
standards is currently being developed to help regulate the way health
insurance companies rank physician performance, and represents a significant
compromise between major physician groups (including the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons) and the nation’s health
insurers (including Aetna and United Health Care).  Dr. Nancy Nielsen, the
President of the American Medical Association, believes that the agreement will
put an end to the conflict between insurers and doctors that has prevented
development of standard criteria that assists patients in choosing their
doctors.  Physician report cards would be based on cost and quality of
care, and insurers say they will allow independent parties to review their
rankings. Previous rating efforts have been controversial since physicians
claimed that health plans placed too high an emphasis on cost, and not the quality
of care provided.  The
standards are also being supported by employers and various labor and consumer
groups, organizations which helped lead efforts to resolve the differences
between doctors and health plans.   

According
to Debra Ness, the President of the National Partnership for Women and
Families, “Consumers and patients are desperate for information to make
better decisions and better choices.”

Hopefully, these national standards will help to assist patients in making informed decisions about choosing medical providers for themselves and their loved ones.