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WellPoint ties employee bonuses to patient health

April 3, 2007
Bonuses for WellPoint Inc.'s 42,000 employees now hinge at least in part on whether the company's customers actually get healthier.

The Indianapolis-based health benefits company announced this morning that it has linked every worker's compensation to how well its patients do in 20 clinical areas. WellPoint claims it is the first company to launch such a program.

WellPoint is the nation's second-largest health benefits firm, behind Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group. WellPoint provides benefits to 34 million customers.

WellPoint will use a statistical model it calls the Member Health Index to calculate the quality of care its customers receive each year. The index includes measurements that
focus on prevention and screening, care management, clinical outcomes and patient safety.

For members who have diabetes, for example, 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.

WellPoint has set a goal it wants to reach by 2010. It will use 2005 data as a baseline and try to improve its customer's care each year.

"This is a bold commitment we are making to improve the health of our members," said Dr. Sam Nussbaum, WellPoint's chief medical officer, in a written statement.
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