Autumn at the National Committee for Quality Assurance means the annual release of its State of Managed Care Quality report, which highlights HEDIS data for commercial health plans. This year's incarnation, however, adds data qualifying the performance of physicians and of Medicare and Medicaid plans.
The renamed State of Health Care Quality report is, at best, a toe in the water for reporting physician performance, but it's indicative of the trend of persuading doctors to embrace evidence-based care. NCQA rates physician care on a single disease, diabetes, based on data doctors voluntarily submit to a joint NCQA/American Diabetes Association program.
As for HEDIS, NCQA notes that 13 percent of commercial plans universally prescribe beta blockers to members who survive heart attacks, and that varicella vaccination rates are up 19 percent since 1999. But there is still variability within plans and between regions. Average performance on a few clinical issues, such as managing antidepressants, declined.