"The Attorney General requests that Preferred Care refrain from introducing this program or any similar program to consumers...without prior review of the Attorney General.”
The above statement was contained in a letter from Linda Lacewell, a member of the NYS Attorney General’s office in regards to a new plan Preferred Care was creating called “Preferred Performance”, ranking Rochester-area physicians for its members.
Preferred Care is the second-largest health insurance provider in Upstate New York.
At issue is a series of questions Preferred Care asked its members in what it termed a "health satisfaction survey”. Members were asked about overall satisfaction with their doctor with regard to quality of care and timeliness.
Patients were also asked about "cost" of care.
The Attorney General’s office says questions about money should not be part of the survey because it would skew preferred care's rankings of doctors based on cost rather than quality of care.
News 8 Now contacted Preferred Care in response to the AG office’s letter. The company says they will provide details of its program to the attorney general's office.
"We never had any plans to release the program to consumers before May 2008, so there's plenty of time," says Michael Traphagan, Preferred Care Communications.
Preferred Care is not the only health insurance provider to be given a "hold" on a ranking system such as this downstate New York City-based Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield and HIP Health Plan/GHI were also asked to submit more information to the AG's office before going public with a similar ranking system.