Aetna Expands Bridges To Excellence™ In Arizona

Company makes first payout to Arizona physicians who participated in nationally recognized pay-for-performance pilot program in 2008

PHOENIX, Ariz.,December 12, 2008 — Aetna (NYSE: AET) announced today that it will expand its Bridges to Excellence™ program throughout the state beginning Jan. 1, 2009. Aetna introduced a Bridges to Excellence pilot into its Provider Quality Performance programs for contracted physicians in the state of Arizona in 2008. The Bridges to Excellence (BTE) program encourages high-quality health care by providing financial incentives to health care providers who demonstrate safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered care.

Bridges to Excellence, founded in 2002, is a multi-state, multi-employer coalition developed by employers, physicians, health care services researchers and other industry experts, whose mission is to reward quality across the health care system.

"We are pleased by the success of our pilot Bridges to Excellence program this year, and are excited to extend the program to physicians throughout the state of Arizona in 2009," said Dr. James Krominga, Aetna's senior medical director for its Southwest markets. "Through the Bridges to Excellence program we have been able to identify and reward physicians who deliver consistently high standards of care to their patients."

For 2008, rewards are being paid to 26 participating physicians within six medical groups for a total of $8,900. This figure is based on care provide by these participating physicians to 89 fully insured cardiac and/or diabetic Aetna members. These payments are the first of quarterly payments that will be made going forward.

In 2009 the Bridges to Excellence™ program will be expanded throughout the state of Arizona, and will apply to all cardiac and/or diabetic fully insured Aetna members and self-insured members as applicable. Bridges to Excellence is based upon physician recognition programs designed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and its partners, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.

Aetna has adopted Bridges to Excellence as a cornerstone of its Provider Quality Performance programs, and incorporated BTE methodology into its other national and regional provider quality performance programs. Currently, Aetna participates in existing Bridges to Excellence markets in District of Columbia/Maryland/Virginia Metro; Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, Ohio; Atlanta; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Washington state; and the state of New Jersey.

Aetna provides health benefits to approximately 400,000 members in this market. Those members have access to a network of 86 hospitals, 2,204 primary care physicians and more than 6,644 specialists.

Recognized physicians will be eligible for performance payments of $100 per year per diabetic patient, and $100 per year per heart/stroke patient. Those payments are in addition to what physicians receive for professional services provided to those patients.

About Aetna
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.2 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.

About Bridges to Excellence
Bridges to Excellence (BTE) is a non-profit coalition-based organization created to encourage significant leaps in the quality of care by recognizing and rewarding health care providers who demonstrate that they deliver safe, timely, effective, and patient-centered care. BTE works with large employers, health plans, providers and a wide range of organizations that have a shared goal of improving quality and patient outcomes.

For more information on Bridges to Excellence or to find out how to participate as an employer or a physician, visit the program's web site at

Copyright Aetna Inc.