California Medical Association Sues Insurer Over Online Physician Ratings

The California Medical Association is suing Blue Shield of California over its rating system for physicians, calling it inaccurate and misleading, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.

Blue Shield's Blue Ribbon Recognition Program, launched in June, has rated about 6,000 physicians and awarded blue ribbons to those who met its standards for quality care.

The lawsuit, which demands an injunction and damages, said the quality information comes from a few years of claims data from Blue Shield and two other insurers and doesn’t include information from patient medical charts, patient outcomes and previous treatment.

The medical association alleged the system gave preference to physicians who charged lower rates and Blue Shield did not give physicians the chance to correct errors.

Blue Shield said the ratings carry a disclaimer saying they are only one measure of physician quality. "We understand that it can be very uncomfortable to be rated and ranked," a company representative said. "We stand by our methodology."

Read the Los Angeles Times report on physician rankings.

Read more coverage on physician quality reporting.

-RAND Corp. Study Finds Insurers' Efforts to Send Patients to Lower-Cost Physicians Misleading

-Study: Physicians With More Poor and Minority Patients Received Lower Performance Ratings

-Physicians With Low-Income Patients Hampered in Quality Measures

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