AHIP Endorses 'Patient Charter' for Measuring, Reporting Physician Performance

America's Health Insurance Plans, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing nearly 1,300 member companies providing health benefits to more than 200 million Americans, joined other stakeholders, including major physician, consumer, employer, labor, and quality groups in supporting a standard set of guiding principles on physician performance measurement and reporting. These principles, which lay out best practices for health plans, employers, coalitions, and state governments with performance measurement and reporting systems, are outlined in the "Patient Charter" developed by the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project.

The principles relate to transparency, methodology, standardization, stakeholder input on measurement systems, and validation of programs by independent third parties. According to AHIP, consumers want and need better information on quality and cost of health care, but there had been multiple approaches in the marketplace, which was leading to consumer confusion and an unnecessary burden on physicians. The work of the alliance on uniformity in measures represents a fundamental building block to assist consumer health information systems.

"The Patient Charter creates sound, uniform principles for the measurement and public reporting of physician performance," AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said on Tuesday. "These principles should be endorsed by all stakeholders as the nation moves toward a health care system that values quality and embraces transparency." Ignagni added that the charter "represents another major step forward in creating consensus around best practices for using uniform quality measures and constructing performance measurement systems . . . and will lead to improvements in care."

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