California P4P improves clinical quality, IT and patient experience

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A report by California’s Integrated Healthcare Association found that a Pay-for-Performance (P4P) program has shown improvement in the areas of clinical quality and patient experience, as well as IT infrastructure and processes during 2008.

The report on statewide physician P4P was conducted by the Integrated Healthcare Association of Oakland, Calif., and included results from eight California health plans participating in the program, including Aetna, Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, UnitedHealthcare and Western Health Advantage. In addition to the eight health plans, the program includes 225 physician groups representing 35,000 physicians in the state.

According to the report, clinical quality (measured in the areas of preventive, acute, chronic and coordinated diabetes care) showed an increase in performance in all measures save the appropriate treatment for children with upper respiratory infections, which showed a small 0.4 percent decline from 2007 to 2008.

The other six measures—child immunization status, chlamydia screening, colorectal cancer screening and cholesterol management for patients with cardiovascular conditions and diabetes care, showed substantial improvement between 2006 and 2008.

Results differed according to geography. The clinical composite score averages for the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego and Orange County surpassed the statewide average, while Los Angeles, the Central Valley, Central Coast and Inland Empire all lagged behind.

Patient experience results showed a slight upward movement across all measures, with similar regional variations to the clinical quality results. The report also found that in 2008 more than two-thirds of physician groups demonstrated some health IT capability, almost double the 2003 number.