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Quality Digest


Employers, Consumer Groups Endorse New Health Plan Standards

Published: Monday, April 10, 2006 - 22:00

Dozens of the United States’ largest consumer groups and employers recently endorsed new standards released by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The standards address how health plans assess the quality and efficiency of the care provided by their contracting physicians and hospitals, and how they share the results with health plan members. Health plans seeking compliance with the standard, “Physician and Hospital Quality,” must demonstrate that they measure and report the quality and cost of their hospitals-and-physicians network. In addition, they are required to use the results to improve physician services through product design and to note high-quality providers in online directories.

“Measuring physician and hospital performance is the next big step toward more transparent, accountable health care,” says Margaret E. O’Kane, NCQA president. “The tremendous support from purchasers and consumer groups for these standards is a clear indication of the need for solid, reliable information about doctors and hospitals to help inform health care decision making.”

The standard promotes clinical measures of physician quality endorsed by the National Quality Forum and the Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance, along with hospital quality measures endorsed by the NQF and the Hospital Quality Alliance. Both plans have received broad support from physician groups, consumer groups and health plans.

“Purchasers believe that transparency and performance incentives will dramatically improve quality and increase the value of the health care that they purchase,” says Robert S. Galvin, General Electric Corp. director of global health care. “With its new standards, NCQA has given purchasers the most valuable tool yet in helping them understand how health plans are performing in driving this critical agenda.”

Those endorsing the new standard include DaimlerChrysler Corp., Cleveland State University, General Electric Co., General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Xerox Corp. and Buyers Health Care Action Group.

For more information, visit www.ncqa.org.


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For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.