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Aetna Introduces Bridges To Excellence™ In Arizona


Nationally recognized pay-for-performance program will reward physicians for meeting quality targets

PHOENIX.— Aetna (NYSE: AET ) announced today that it has incorporated Bridges to Excellence™ into its Provider Quality Performance programs for contracted physicians in the state of Arizona. The Bridges to Excellence program encourages high-quality health care by providing financial incentives to health care providers who demonstrate safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered care. For 2008, the program is being piloted among selected high-volume practices, with plans for broader expansion in 2009 if the program is successful in the market.

Bridges to Excellence (BTE), founded in 2002, is a multi-state, multi-employer coalition developed by employers, physicians, health care services researchers and other industry experts, whose mission is to reward quality across the health care system.

“Aetna believes we have a responsibility to work with the medical community, consumers and employers to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care,” said Dr. James Krominga, Aetna’s senior medical director for its Southwest markets. “The Bridges to Excellence program will help identify and reward physicians who deliver consistently high standards of care to their patients.”

Bridges to Excellence is based upon physician recognition programs designed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and its partners, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

“We are pleased that Aetna has taken an approach to rewarding physicians that is based on NCQA recognition, which measures actual clinical outcomes such as the control of diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and other cardiovascular indicators,” said Andrei Damian, M.D., F.A.C.C., founder of Cardiovascular Consultants, Ltd., the largest cardiology group in Phoenix. “We share with Aetna the ultimate goals of improving patient care.” Cardiovascular Consultants, Ltd. has achieved the NCQA seal, and is a champion of Bridges to Excellence.

Aetna has adopted Bridges to Excellence as a cornerstone of its Provider Quality Performance programs, and incorporated BTE methodology into its other national and regional provider quality performance programs. Currently, Aetna participates in existing Bridges to Excellence markets in District of Columbia/Maryland/Virginia Metro; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, Ohio; Atlanta; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Washington State; New Jersey. Additional programs are expected to be implemented in additional markets in 2008.

In the state of Arizona, Aetna will employ two physician reward programs operated by Bridges to Excellence: The Diabetes Care Link; and the Cardiac Care Link. Both programs focus on meeting approved high standards for treating chronic conditions. Aetna provides health benefits to approximately 400,000 members in this market. Those members have access to a network of 86 hospitals, 2,204 primary care physicians and more than 6,644 specialists.

Recognized physicians will be eligible for incentive payments of $100 per year per diabetic patient, and $100 per year per heart/stroke patient. Those payments are in addition to what physicians receive for professional services provided to those patients.

“Aetna is excited to participate in this program, which supports our continuing work to encourage quality and safety improvements in health care. We encourage all the eligible physicians in our network to join us in this effort,” Krominga said.


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