"Aetna is committed to building a health care system in which clinical quality and value are transparent to health care consumers. Whenever possible, we use evidenced-based and externally validated measures to help ensure our programs are credible and useful to members. Endorsing the Patient Charter is one more opportunity for Aetna to further demonstrate its commitment to transparency and offering members reliable information," said Troyen Brennan, MD, Aetna's chief medical officer.
By adopting the Patient Charter, Aetna will increase the transparency of its own programs by agreeing to adhere to the Patient Charter's criteria for Physician Performance Measurement, Reporting and Tiering. This includes a review by a nationally-recognized, independent health care quality standard-setting organization of the company's programs that provide physician performance information to members.
"Aetna has shown important leadership by responding to the call of employers to develop tools that help consumers choose better performing physicians," said Peter V. Lee, Executive Director for National Health Policy of the Pacific Business Group on Health. "By subscribing to the Patient Charter, Aetna continues that leadership by responding to concerns of physicians and assuring that Aetna measurement and reporting programs are valid, reliable and built upon doctors' input."
The endorsing groups believe that by accepting the terms of the Patient Charter, health plans are agreeing to be assessed against high and consistent standards that will help to advance the transparency and quality of performance measurement efforts, as well as promote the national consistency and standardization sought by consumers, purchasers, and physicians. The external review also includes a comparison to national standards and a report detailing the measures and methodologies used by the health plan.
"We recognize that as a health plan, we have significant opportunities to help our members better navigate the health care system by providing relevant information about the care they are seeking. The Patient Charter provides a framework that will help ensure nationally consistent reporting for health plans, yet recognizes the local nature of health care delivery by offering enough flexibility to provide information to our members that is meaningful," said Dr. Brennan.
Aetna has been a leading proponent of transparency for several years. The company provides its members tools and resources that offer personalized health and benefits information through Aetna Navigator™, the company's secure member self-service website. Aetna also was the first health plan to provide its members with physician-specific information on health care costs, and has partnered with organizations committed to quality measurement and improvement such as the National Quality Forum, Ambulatory and Hospital Quality Alliances, the Leapfrog Group, Bridges to Excellence and the Care Focused Purchasing coalition. In addition, Aetna was the first insurer to publicly announce its support of the Executive Order on health care transparency signed by President Bush in August of 2006, and the first to sign the statement in support of the "Four Cornerstones of Value-Driven Health Care" released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Patient Charter complements the Physician Charter which has been adopted by many leading physician organizations. The Physician Charter details core principles of professionalism and addresses physicians' responsibility to "actively participate in the development of better measures of quality of care and the application of quality measures to assess routinely the performance of all individuals, institutions, and systems responsible for health care delivery." For more information on the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project, visit http://healthcaredisclosure.org/.
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. www.aetna.com