Primary Care Physicians – Why Wellpoint wants to pay you more

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

primary care physician pay raise jill hummel wellpoint vice president payment innovationPrimary Care Physician Pay – you ready for a raise?

WellPoint recently launched a major new initiative to increase reimbursement for primary care physicians who keep patients healthier and lower costs. The insurer is investing $1 billion to increase doctors’ fees by about 10 percent and pay them for services that currently aren’t covered.

Here is a link to their Wall Street Journal article announcing the new program.

Recent Jill Hummel, their Vice President of “Payment Innovation” sat down with a reporter from the website FierceHealthPayor to answer the question “WHY”?

Here are highlights of the interview. The full interview is here.


FierceHealthPayer: What motivated WellPoint to make such a large investment in primary care?

“… we want to drive improvements in health status and affordability through a patient-centered primary care model, we need to improve primary care access and effectiveness.”

FHP: How does Wellpoint intend to improve access and effectiveness?

Our program is designed to do that in a number of ways. First and foremost, we do that by helping to make primary care a specialty that is rewarding, both financially and professionally.

Financially rewarding because we appropriately compensate primary care physicians for the service and value they deliver to our members.

Professionally rewarding because we give primary care physicians more tools to be the kind of physicians they went to medical school to become.

This includes payment for important clinical services that occur outside of a traditional office visit, meaningful and actionable information that helps them identify and manage their high-risk or chronic patients, and education and clinical support for the care planning they do with those patients.”

As a Family Practice Doctor I welcome the spirit in which this is offered
and time will tell how long this “Innovation” lasts and whether it
provides Wellpoint and their insured patients with the benefits they are seeking.
Stay tuned.

AND please leave a comment below and tell us what you think about this pay raise AND the strings attached.