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Doctor Rankings May Be On Way out In N.Y.

In letters to three health care providers, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo asked for the stop of doctor-ranking programs.

Cuomo says the programs, which the three insurers offer to policyholders, as a means of finding the best physician are potentially look upon with suspicion and perhaps not in consumers' best financial interests.

Cuomo said, "Consumers need to be aware that doctor-ranking programs, as currently designed, may steer patients to the cheapest, but not necessarily the best doctors, letting profits trump quality. Transparency and accurate information are critical when making health care decisions and should not be clouded by conflicts of interest."

Cuomo sent letters to Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Preferred Care and HIP Health Plan/GHI, all New York-based. Blue Cross Blue Shield has over 500,000 customers in the state, while Preferred Care has approximately 185,188.

The letters are in line with others sent to United Healthcare, Aetna Health Plan and Cigna. Cuomo says discussions with those providers are continuing.

Blue Cross Blue Shield said its ranking system, Blue Precision, has not even started in New York yet, according to a Reuters report.

According to the report, spokesperson Lisa Grenier said, "While we strongly believe consumers, government and labor paying for health care have every right to both quality and cost information, health care is local and therefore we will not initiate release of such data until we are comfortable that we have appropriately addressed questions raised by stakeholders."



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