Aetna Inc. (ticker: AET, exchange: New York Stock Exchange (.N))
News Release -
Aetna is Early Adopter of New Quality Standards; Next generation of quality standards measures health plan tools to help members make informed decisions about their health care
HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 12, 2005--The National
Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) today recognized Aetna
(NYSE:AET) for its efforts to provide information and useful resources
to help members make better-informed decisions about their health
NCQA, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to
improving the quality of health care, named Aetna as an "Early
Adopter" of Member Connections, the first segment of NCQA's new
Quality Plus standards.
"The Member Connections standards measure how effectively health
plans provide consumers with tools and information to guide quality
decision-making," said William C. Popik, M.D., Aetna's Chief Medical
Officer. "We applaud NCQA for setting new quality standards that meet
the needs of the swiftly changing health care marketplace."
The Member Connections standards
(http://www.ncqa.org/Programs/Qualityplus/index.htm) allow NCQA to
recognize innovative, market-leading health plans in areas such as:
- leveraging the Web to help members with chronic conditions
manage their care and improve outcomes,
- allowing members to track claims online,
- adopting innovative health management programs and providing
access to high-quality health care,
- providing tools for members to assess and maintain their
health, such as health risk appraisals.
The standards apply to Aetna on a national basis because the
activities considered by the standards occur across all accredited
Aetna health plans. As an Early Adopter, Aetna is among the first
health care plans to agree to be surveyed under the new standards.
Additionally, Aetna supported their development by participating in
NCQA's pilot evaluation project. The next step is to undergo formal
evaluation on the finalized standards later this year.
"Aetna participated in our pilot review of the standards, and it's
clear that they have strong processes in place to address issues that
consumers care about," stated Margaret E. O'Kane, NCQA President.
"Aetna's commitment to having all 21 of its plans reviewed against
these standards speaks to their dedication to keeping their members
aware and informed."
"As more and more employers adopt the emerging consumer-directed
benefit model, it is increasingly important to provide health plan
members with objective assessments of the services they use most in
making decisions about their health care," said Charles M. Cutler,
M.D., National Medical Director for Quality Management at Aetna.
"Meeting the Member Connections standards criteria demonstrates
Aetna's commitment to leveraging our technology and our information
resources in innovative ways that help our members make informed
decisions about their health care and provide them with a
best-in-class service experience."
Aetna embraces a commitment to quality, as evidenced by the
importance placed on achieving National Committee for Quality
Assurance (NCQA) Accreditation. Nationally, of the 20 Aetna plans
surveyed by NCQA, all have met NCQA's rigorous standards as of
December 2004, and a review is pending on a 21st plan. Nineteen
Aetna HMO and POS plans evaluated by NCQA have received "Excellent"
ratings, the highest accreditation rating possible.
As one of the nation's leading providers of health care, dental,
pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, Aetna
puts information and helpful resources to work for its approximately
13.6 million medical members, 11.6 million dental members, 8.3 million
pharmacy members and 13.3 million group insurance members to help them
make better informed decisions about their health care and protect
their finances against health-related risks. Aetna provides easy
access to cost-effective health care through a nationwide network of
more than 646,000 health care professionals, including over 385,000
primary care and specialist doctors and 3,908 hospitals. For more
information, please visit www.aetna.com. (Figures as of September 30,
Susan Millerick, 860-273-0536