Cigna hires NCQA to check its doctor rankings

Over the past few months, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been challenging the physician ranking programs state health plans use. To make peace with the AG, the health plans have agreed to several guidelines for ranking physicians--including hiring an outside "ratings examiner" that would make sure that its physician grades were fair. Now, Cigna hired the the National Committee for Quality Assurance to oversee its program, a move that sets the quality bar high for its competitors and arguably, could expand the overall mission of the venerable quality group. NCQA execs also have said that they expect to announce that they'll be overseeing ratings for several other health plans, as those health plans arrive at final settlements with the state. In the meantime, Cigna's initial review by NCQA should be finished by late May.

What's interesting about this is that with NCQA involved, the New York settlements will have wide ripples nationally. For one thing, NCQA standards will bleed over into rating programs Cigna and others use elsewhere in the country. Meanwhile, since NCQA has a strong employer constituency, its involvement is likely to raise employer understanding of the process. This could prove to be a real turning point in the whole rankings movement.

To find out more about the NCQA's role here:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (sub. req.)

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