Mass. Doctors Sue Over State Agency’s Quality, Cost Rankings

May 23, 2008

A physicians group is suing a Massachusetts agency, arguing that the agency’s system for ranking doctors based on quality and cost is unfair to patients and physicians alike.

The Massachusetts Medical Society said this week it has filed a Suffolk Superior Court lawsuit against the Group Insurance Commission, which buys health insurance for most Massachusetts state employees and retirees.

At issue is an agency program that ranks individual doctors based on cost and quality measures. Patients are charged higher co-payments to be treated by low-ranked doctors, and must switch to avoid higher fees.

The medical society argues the system is an inaccurate ranking guage. The group is asking the court to stop or modify the program.

The Group Insurance Commission’s executive director, Dolores Mitchell, says the medical society has repeatedly rejected the agency’s pleas for input to help improve the rankings.

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