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Empire State Lawmakers To Back Doctor Ranking Bill

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New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says he thinks lawmakers in his state will enact a physician quality guide bill.

New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, N.Y., and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, N.Y., have agreed to support a bill that would be based on a doctor ranking settlement agreement that Cuomo has hammered out with doctor groups, consumer groups and health plans.

Many carriers have agreed in the past month to abide by the settlement agreement model in New York, and at least three have agreed to adopt the model on a voluntary basis throughout the United States, Cuomo says.

The three carriers that say they will apply the model nationwide are Aetna Inc., Hartford; UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.; and WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis.

The New York model rules call for insurers to include factors other than cost when calculating doctor rankings; to use nationally accepted methods for assessing care quality; to give consumers and doctors methods for appealing ranking decisions; and to pay independent “ratings examiners” to determine how well quality programs are complying with the model standards.

The New York Health Plan Association, Albany, N.Y., is supporting Cuomo’s efforts to pass a ranking program bill.

Codifying model rules “will empower consumers with reliable information on how well physicians are delivering care based on nationally accepted treatment standards,” Paul Macielak, president of the association, says in a statement about Cuomo’s efforts to use the quality program agreement as the basis for a bill.