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Aetna's Aexcel® Performance Network

Recognition for excellence in specialty health care

Aexcel is our designation for high-performing doctors and doctor groups in 12 specialty areas. It’s an industry-leading initiative to help people receive a high level of care at a reasonable cost.

If you become part of the Aetna Aexcel network, you receive the Aexcel designation and a blue star next to your name in our directories. This makes it easy for people to identify and choose Aexcel specialists.

Benefits of being an Aexcel doctor

  • Specialists are chosen based on national standards that are consistent with those of leading associations.
  • You're part of our preferred network of health care providers.
  • Patients choose you because of your Aexcel designation.
  • Aexcel designation does not affect your contract or your Aetna reimbursement.

How we choose Aexcel specialists

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) serves as an independent ratings examiner for Aetna. It reviews how our Aexcel program meets criteria for NCQA’a Physician Quality Certification.

NCQA is an independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits health care organizations. It also recognizes physicians in key clinical areas.

View the NCQA’s latest report on our compliance

Aexcel specialty areas and criteria

We evaluate doctors in 12 specialty areas:

  • Cardiology
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Gastroenterology
  • General surgery
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Orthopedics
  • Otolaryngology/ENT
  • Plastic surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular surgery

Aexcel specialists meet nationally recognized standards of clinical performance and efficiency.

They are chosen on multiple factors, including:

  • Number and types of services performed
  • How often patients return to the hospital
  • Rates of health complications during hospital stays
  • Use of technology
  • Cost of services

Aexcel for 2020 and 2021

We’re making a change to clinical performance measures for the 2020 designation cycle:

Rather than meet the Use of Technology measure, a physician must fulfill one of the following criteria:

  • An attestation to the 2017/2018 Meaningful Use 1 or 2 guidelines
  • An attestation to participation in the Physician Quality Reporting System
  • Participation in a value-based contract with us. A value-based contract includes quality measures with incentives to improve or reach targets.

Note that physicians need to meet only one clinical performance measure to be considered for Aexcel designation. Besides the measures above, others are:

  • Aetna claims-based measures with minimum member/event volume threshold
  • Recognition by the National Committee for Quality Assurance or Bridges to Excellence®
  • Attestation to completion of Practice Improvement Module activity in conjunction with maintenance of certification
  • Alignment with Aetna’s Institutes of Quality® facilities

Learn more about how we choose specialists (2020-2021) (PDF)
Physician’s Guide to Aexcel (2020 and 2021) (PDF) See more information about Meaningful Use 1 or 2 (PDF)

Sign an Aexcel-related attestation
See more about the Physician Quality Reporting System (PDF)


Your opinion is very important and will help us to improve our program. We welcome any comments you have about our Aexcel program. Thank you in advance for your help!

Aexcel Feedback

This material is for information only and is not an offer or invitation to contract. Providers are independent contractors and are not agents of Aetna. Provider participation may change without notice. Aetna does not provide care or guarantee access to health services.

Aexcel designation is only a guide to choosing a physician. Members should confer with their existing physicians and the specialists they are selecting before making a decision. Designations have the risk of error and should not be the sole basis for selecting a doctor.

Health benefits and health insurance plans contain exclusions and limitations.

Information is believed to be accurate as of the production date; however, it is subject to change.

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