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WellPoint Pays First Bonuses for Care Improvements

June 30, 2008
Related Topics: Recognition, Benefit Design and Communication, Health and Wellness, Latest News
WellPoint Inc. reached its goal of improving patient care in the first year of its new Member Health Index program, the insurer reported.

Under the program, launched last year, 5 percent of the annual bonuses paid to all 42,000 WellPoint employees nationwide were linked to achieving measurable improvements in patient care received by enrollees in all WellPoint plans.

These include those enrolled in group, individual, Medicare and Medicaid plans, including health maintenance organization plans, preferred provider organization plans and high-deductible consumer-driven plans.

WellPoint is the nation’s largest health insurer, covering 34 million enrollees nationwide.

To measure the rate of improvement, WellPoint used an index that included 20 key clinical services divided into four areas: screening and prevention, care management, clinical outcomes and patient safety. If specific targets were met, the entire 5 percent bonuses would be paid to WellPoint employees. If not, employees would receive only partial bonuses.

WellPoint determined that improvements had been made in 17 of the 20 clinical areas, entitling employees to earn their full 5 percent bonuses.

Among other improvements, WellPoint said:

•  The number of plan members undergoing screenings for breast cancer increased by 6 percent.

•  Cholesterol screenings increased by 5 percent.

•  Colorectal cancer screenings increased by 4 percent.

Perhaps the most significant improvement was a 28 percent decline in the number of emergency room visits for congestive heart failure, the insurer reported.

The areas that did not show improvement were diabetes compliance, hypertension compliance and asthma emergency room visits.

But even though the company missed its target in these three measures, WellPoint employees were still eligible to receive their entire bonus payments, which were distributed in March, a company spokeswoman said.

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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