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Action Alerts

Attorney General Cuomo’s Announcement of Settlement With CIGNA Regarding Doctor Ranking Programs

The announcement on October 29, 2007, of an agreement between New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and CIGNA is a major step in assuring consumers that quality of medical care…not money…is the key element in judging the competency of physicians in the state.  Attorney General Coumo and his staff are to be commended by patients throughout New York State for their focus on this critical healthcare issue and the months of effort they have spent in bringing about this historic agreement.

Importantly, CIGNA’s agreement to rank physicians based on verifiable measures of clinical skills…rather than on measurers of how little money is spent on an individual patient…is a milestone in assuring that patients have a prime role in selecting physicians based on what is important to their personal health care needs.

What Attorney General Cuomo has negotiated is a doctor ranking system based on a balanced process, a process that would ensure data provided to patients was accurate and doctors were evaluated fairly.  Until today, no plan existed that fairly balanced the interests and concerns of consumers, the medical community, and insurers.

The critical aspect of this agreement is that the measures that have been agreed upon will lead to doctor ranking programs that provide patients with clear and comprehensive information that accurately reflects the quality of healthcare provided by doctors.  This model also ensures transparency for both patients and doctors — patients will now understand the criteria upon which doctors are ranked, and doctors will be able to provide input into the ranking system.  The Attorney General’s inclusion of a continual oversight initiative will assure the effectiveness of the program.

This agreement will become a model for similar agreements in New York State and across the country and it is expected that it will become a cornerstone in the future relations between health insurance carriers, patient and physicians.  It is important to recognize that all three players are winners in this agreement but that patients are the ultimate beneficiaries. The use of factual information to establish physician credentials is as important to patients as any medical research in the past 100 years.

Attorney General Cuomo’s initiative sets up a fair process that works for all and represents an important step forward for the healthcare community.  It will provide assurance that patients will have solid information on which to select the best physicians for their personal care.
The Medical Society of the State of New York

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The Governor has signed each of our children’s health bills that were passed by both the Senate and Assembly:

  1. Chapter 189 of the Laws of 2006 requires pneumococcal immunization for children entering child care or nursery school.  This statute, (A8761B/S8341A), becomes effective for children born on or after January 1, 2008.
  2. Chapter 506, the TDaP booster statute, (A11042A/S7421B), requires a TDaP booster for children at entry to sixth grade. This bill becomes effective September 1, 2007.
  3. Chapter 544 creates the statewide Immunization Registry (A12021A/S8227A).  This law will bring all the information from various existing registries together and will require statewide implementation. The time will develop with the process.
  4. Chapter 614 creates Emergency Medical Services for Children infrastructure for statewide decision making.  This bill was needed to draw down federal monies to support EMSC services statewide.  It also creates a structure to help New York plan for better and more comprehensive Emergency Medical Services for Children.
  5. The District continues its strong support for the School Nutrition Bill (A10729/S7367) which would mandate more nutritious foods be made available in school vending machines and the a la carte portion of the school cafeteria.

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Have you checked out the Federal Affairs area of the Academy’s web site recently? Exciting enhancements have been made to make it easier for you to be an advocate for children. You can reach the new site by clicking http://capwiz.com/aap3. In addition to providing contact information to legislators, the site also gives legislative updates on current AAP priorities, lets you see which Members of Congress have supported these priorities, and provides sample letters and ways to communicate directly with your Senators and Representative and your local media.

To find your New York State Senator go to http://www.senate.state.ny.us/, click on Senators,

New York State Senator

Call your Senator in Albany at 518-455-2800 and ask the operator to connect you to your senator’s office.

To find your State Senator go to http://www.senate.state.ny.us/,  click on Senators, type in your zip code and the directory will provide you with your Senator’s name.