Pay-for-performance program pays doctors for patients' compliance

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana is rolling out an interesting pay-for-performance program that pays doctors for their patients' performance. Doctors will be rated on how many of their patients are or are not taking medications as prescribed, or are getting medical tests or screenings that the doctor recommended.

The goal, obviously, is to encourage doctors to follow up with patients, making sure that they are getting their recommended care and taking medications as prescribed. And some see it as an ideal way to do just that. However, some doctors are concerned that if they serve lower-income patients, they will be penalized because their patients can't afford to get the care that is recommended. So it remains to be seen whether this issue defeats the program's goals.

To help them achieve the program's goals, doctors who participate will be receiving a lot more information on the compliance of their patients. Anthem will be sending doctors reports on which of their patients have gotten the recommended tests. So if doctors can work it into their practice, they will know which patients need to be cajoled into getting that mammogram or taking their medication as prescribed.

Currently, the program has only been rolled out to primary care doctors, including family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Time will tell how well the program will work to achieve its goals for better patient care and cooperation.

To learn more about the program:
- read this piece in The Indianapolis Star