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UnitedHealth distributed more than $148 million in quality bonuses last year to doctors who met certain quality benchmarks while treating Medicare Advantage members, according to an announcement from the insurer.
The bonuses were distributed through UnitedHealth’s PATH program, which emphasizes preventative care and chronic disease management among older adults. Last year, more than 1,900 physicians participating in the program provided mammograms and colonoscopies for a higher percentage of members to screen for breast and colon cancer. The program also emphasizes eye exams for members with diabetes and discussions regarding physical activity.
This focus on preventive care helped identify 1.8 million instances in which a member had not received recommended medical services. Insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans are increasingly investing in quality care programs in order to receive federal bonus payments.
“As we move toward a more value-based reimbursement system, what we are doing is trying to explore how we get better and more engaged in that,” Efrem Castillo, M.D., chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare and Retirement division, told Forbes.
As the industry continues its transition toward value-based payments, more physicians are receiving financial bonuses linked to quality care metrics. Several public hospitals have also begun tying physician bonuses to quality benchmarks such as readmission rates, coordinated preventive health services and improved communication.