BCBS of TN plans to share doctor ratings, prices

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state's largest health insurer, said this week that it plans to begin offering doctor quality ratings and cost data to consumers in April. The Blue plan will offer its members secure online access to data on how much doctors charge for an array of procedures, as well as ratings on whether their patients got the right treatments and tests for some conditions. 

The plan is stirring up the same objections here that it has in other states, notably that the health plan will steer patients to cheap doctors regardless of quality, that the data itself (drawn from claims) may be flawed, and that ratings may make doctors who take on the sickest patients look bad unfairly.

In a nod to recent physician rating guidelines issued by the state of New York's attorney general, BlueCross has incorporated some of the state's best practices, including disclosing how doctors are ranked, and giving the physicians a chance to appeal inaccurate ratings. However, it looks as though a few other key aspects of the New York model, including external ratings audits and using risk-adjusted data, aren't part of BCBS of Tennessee's plans.

To learn more about the health plan's approach:
- read this piece from The Tennessean

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