NU Online News Service, July 6, 2004, 12:39 p.m. EDT

Blue Cross of California says it has recognized physician groups’ 2003 quality efforts by sending $57 million in incentive payments to 134 groups.[@@]

California Blue, a unit of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., organized the quality incentive program in mid-July. It made $28 million in incentive payments to 80 physician groups to recognize the groups’ 2002 quality efforts.

California Blue bases the incentive payments on quality scorecard results and compliance with other contract requirements, the company says.

The company notes that it had contracts with 160 physician groups in 2003.