BCBS partners with Zagat to expand physician ratings

Physicians, brace yourselves: Zagat, which publishes dining guides, is partnering with more BCBS to rank doctors. And if this move to treat doctors' offices like restaurants is not enough, the ratings will not even be based on medical factors. Rather, they will be based on survey results of four factors: availability, office environment, communication and trust.

Understandably, critics worry that since an insurer is sponsoring the effort, they may be influence which doctors make it into the guide, based on cost. It's these concerns that have led to counter-insurgencies in states like New York, where Attorney General Andrew Cuomo forced the state's health plans to agree to a carefully-structured set of rules for rating/ranking physicians.

This is not the first time Zagat has rated doctors; in the fall of last year, WellPoint (which also runs Blue Cross plans in 14 states) hired Zagat to do the same thing. So this is just an expansion of the same program. Still, it might have been nice to find out how doctors fared under WellPoint's initiative before BCBS plans went at it again.

To read more about the new ratings:
- read this News & Observer piece