Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Teachers: OK To Rank Health Plans and Physicians, But Not Us?

Raucous citizens refusing to leave public places. Political leaders implacably refusing to compromise. A President's politically crafted statements of support. Greece and Libya you ask? Yes, says the Disease Management Care Blog, but include Wisconsin and its public union travails in that list. And one particularly visible group has been the state's public school teachers, who are fighting against proposed changes in their collective bargaining rights, having to pay more for their benefits and, until recently, merit pay.

On behalf of the health insurers and doctors in the Badger State, welcome to our world, says the Disease Management Care Blog. Prior to Madison's political stand-off, Wisconsin's "Department of Employee Trust Funds" had initiated a "3 Tier" health insurance model in which health plans were ranked according to efficiency and quality. Tier 1 plans had the lowest employee premium, which was engineered to attract the largest number of state employees. The state's insurance commissioner and the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) have also been rating the plans. Since union member enrollment means income, health plans lusting after that coveted Tier 1 status have been undoubtedly rating their physicians. The WCHQ has joined in and has been naming (practice) names.

The DMCB believes it's doubtful that the 3 tiering system and public ratings would have ever occurred without all of the unions' consent. Ironically it seems, they didn't anticipate that this swell idea would be eventually applied to their own members.

The DMCB recalls some of its physician colleagues wishing that they had a union to counter the ratings. The lesson here is that it looks like even a union ultimately isn't going to help in this fight against city hall and its grumpy voters.


Bradley Dean Stephan said...

If I may add to this 'rush to rate' phenomenon, which we should include Florida's plan for teachers to rate parents - providers should rate patients, relative to their adherence to the providers' medical and lifestyle health improvement prescription.

Anonymous said...

This article is featured in the March 3rd edition of the Health Wonk Review. Thanks for your submission!