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April 03, 2007
Insurer Ties Employee Bonuses to Members' Health

Health insurer WellPoint, Inc. has launched an initiative that will link a portion of employees' incentive pay with improvement in the health of its 34 million members.

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The company developed the Member Health Index (MHI) to measure the success of its programs to better manage care and improve the health and wellness of its members.

The MHI includes 20 clinical areas that reflect the quality of care an individual has received. The measures focus on prevention and screening, care management, clinical outcomes, and patient safety. The measures will then be used to determine the quality of health care the company's members receive year after year.

For example, for members who have diabetes, the index will help to measure if they are getting necessary eye exams, maintaining their blood sugar level to reduce complications, and having their blood pressure level controlled. For children, the index will measure if they received their immunizations.

As a part of the initiative, a portion of all WellPoint employees' bonuses will now be tied to improvements in the member's health index score.

"We have set a high bar for success, and we are committed to making significant progress each year through existing and new health improvement programs," says Sam Nussbaum, executive vice president and chief medical officer for WellPoint. "The measurement system we have developed will help provide us with an accurate assessment of the improvements in the health of our members at every stage of care. Research studies have demonstrated that individuals receive recommended care only 55 percent of the time. Our goal is to dramatically improve on that result."

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