New Online NCQA Reports Show How Well Health Plans Treat Key Illnesses; ’Living with Illness’ Reports Add Plan-Specific HEDIS(r) Results to Web-based Health Plan Report Card
WASHINGTON, July 18 -- The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today added clinical performance information to its nationally recognized, online Health Plan Report Card (HPRC). The reports show how effectively health plans treat patients in four areas: diabetes, cardiac care, asthma and mental illness. The public release of this data in the new Living with Illness reports is a first, giving employers and consumers more detail than ever before to help in selecting among health plans. A Living with Illness report will be available for each of the 264 NCQA-Accredited commercial, Medicare and Medicaid health plans listed on the report card.
“Chronic illnesses account for three-fourths of all health care spending, and unless well-treated, create a substantial burden of illness and death,” said NCQA President Margaret E. O’Kane. “The Living with Illness reports show how well health plans treat four of the most important chronic illnesses -- that’s information both employers and consumers can use.”
The Living with Illness reports are a new “drill down” feature that users can access from NCQA’s existing Health Plan Report Card. To view a sample report, visit http://www.ncqa.org/Programs/Accreditation/MCO/lwir.htm. Each report shows the plan’s rates on up to 13 HEDIS measures; HEDIS data are collected as part of every NCQA Accreditation survey. To provide context for the results, the 90th percentile rates (or the rate for the top 10 percent of all plans nationally) is also provided.
“These reports are powerful tools to help employers select the best health plan for their employees’ needs,” said Peter Lee, President and CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health. “For every employer, caring for the chronically ill is a critical concern. The Living With Illness reports provide concrete information on which plans keep their employees healthy -- and therefore provide the best value.”
Many health plans welcomed the release of more information about their clinical performance. “We’re always trying to get our members and our prospective members to focus on our results,” said Robert Sehring, CEO, OSF Health Plans. “These reports put them front and center and then explain what they mean. I hope everyone who uses the site drills down to that next level.”
Consumer groups also applauded the addition to the Health Plan Report Card. “One of the most valuable tools for a patient with chronic illness is good information,” said Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women and Families. “A consumer selecting a health plan will find the Living With Illness reports to be an invaluable resource.”
In September, NCQA will add summary data to the Living with Illness reports. These summary results will provide an indication of how well a health plan performed on all the measures aggregated for each of the four conditions (e.g., diabetes). Both the summary scores and the HEDIS results will remain in the reports after September.
The Living with Illness reports contain selected HEDIS results to help guide employer and consumer choice. NCQA’s Quality Compass includes complete HEDIS data for all 264 commercial health plans that agreed to allow their data to be publicly reported. This year, Quality Compass becomes an interactive, online service offering trended data, custom reports and an improved user interface. Quality Compass 2005 will be available on July 28. To preorder at a 10 percent discount, contact NCQA Customer Support at 888-275-7585.
NCQA is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations and manages the evolution of HEDIS(r), the tool the nation’s health plans use to measure and report on their performance. NCQA is committed to providing health care quality information through the Web, media and data licensing agreements in order to help consumers, employers and others make more informed health care choices.
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