NU Online News Service, April 25, 2005, 3:50 p.m. EDT

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit, says an incentive program to reward physician groups for participating in its cost-cutting plan is already showing results.

The Michigan Blues company says 10 physician groups serving 33 Michigan counties have improved delivery of care by participating in the program.

Thomas Simmer, M.D., Michigan Blues’ senior vice president and chief medical officer, announced nearly $1 million in incentive payments to the 10 physician groups, representing rewards for first-quarter 2005 results in the program. They are the first of four incentive payments to be awarded for 2005 activities, the company says.

The Michigan Blues set aside some dollars normally paid to physicians to be used as an incentive for meeting agreed-upon goals, including increased use of generic drugs and working to prevent complications in patients with diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, persistent asthma and congestive heart failure.

Each group’s share of the incentive payments was based on its performance against goals and the number of Michigan Blues members it treats, the company says.