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Defeat Diabetes
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Georgia to Pay Diabetes Doctors for Performance

Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Georgia will provide bonuses to doctors who care for state employees with diabetes, and improve their outcomes.

The incentive pay announcement for doctors who care for diabetes patients in the State Health Benefit Plan was made Friday by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Doctors who can provide diabetes patients preventive medical services can save money while delivering better care, Perdue said. The state plan covers 640,000 state employees and teacher as well as their dependents and retirees

About 30,000 people in the plan are estimated to have diabetes or be at risk for the disease, state officials said. Nearly a half-million adult Georgians have said they've been diagnosed with diabetes and health officials believe nearly a quarter-million more people have undiagnosed diabetes.

Diabetes is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It involves higher-than-normal levels of blood glucose, or sugar. Doctors who volunteer for the state's incentive plan will be evaluated on how they improve the health of those with diabetes. They can receive $61 a year extra _ up to an annual payment cap of $20,000 _ for each diabetes patient covered by participating employers by meeting quality standards.

State officials say it costs more than $4 billion a year for diabetes-related costs of medical care, lost productivity and premature death. It costs $10,000 more yearly to treat a diabetes patient than it costs to treat someone without the disease, state officials said.

"Pay for performance" incentives _ or paying more to doctors who meet proper medical guidelines _ is a growing practice among employers and health insurance companies. Private employers, including BellSouth Corp. and UPS, are participating in the project.

Perdue credited former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich for helping create the bonus plan. "The commitment here to a healthy Georgia that saves lives and saves money will be a model for the rest of the country," said Gingrich, founder of the Washington-based Center for Health Transformation, which is helping organize the Bridges to Excellence diabetes project.

Source: Diabetes In Control

 
 
 
 
 
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