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AMA Commends Independent Health for Joining Industry Shift on Physician Performance Measurement
Date:12/12/2007

Remarks delivered today at a press conference hosted by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to announce an agreement with Independent Health

BUFFALO, N.Y., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement attributable to, Nancy Nielsen, M.D., AMA President-elect:

"The American Medical Association is committed to improving the quality of health care, and initiatives that measure and compare physician performance represent potential quality improvement tools when properly implemented.

"In keeping with our commitment to quality improvement, the AMA has insisted that the health insurance industry make a radical shift in the central basis for physician rankings.

"This radical shift is now underway in New York. Efforts by health insurers to profile physicians will no longer be driven solely by costs and economics. Instead, the primary goal of these programs will be to promote quality patient care.

"This profound policy change was made possible thanks to crucial agreements Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has secured with several of the nation's largest health insurers. The AMA is proud to have been involved in the creation of these unprecedented agreements and the important protections they contain for patients and physicians.

"The AMA commends Independent Health for voluntarily joining the ongoing shift in the health insurance industry's stance on physician profiling. Although Independent Health does not profile physicians, its agreement with the Attorney General indicates that a primary commitment to quality improvement already exists within the company.

"Through the agreements set by the Attorney General, health insurers consent to align their physician profiling programs with the principles of quality-first, accuracy, transparency and oversight.

"For the first time, health insurers have agreed to stop initiatives that unfairly rank physicians more on cost containment than on care, and provide patients with inaccurate information.

"In other areas of the country, these flawed programs have helped no one and hurt many by causing confusion and apprehension.

"It is promising that health insurers are now acknowledging that patients should always be able to trust that the information they receive on physicians is valid and reliable. But the AMA believes the accuracy and integrity of this information can only be safeguarded by the independent oversight and regulation envisioned by Attorney General Cuomo.

"The AMA urges New York state lawmakers to build on the principles laid out by the Attorney General in legislation that will ensure the accuracy and integrity of physician profiling initiatives and keep these programs focused on the principal goal of improving patient care."


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SOURCE American Medical Association
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