Columbia University Medical Center

Quality Group Identifies Specialty Bonus Programs

three doctors

From left, Drs. Michael Vitale, Stephen Emerson, and Benjamin Lebwohl.

Members of the Quality Strategy Steering Committee have been working to identify specialty-based bonus programs with which to approach commercial payers for rewarding ColumbiaDoctors’ for their superior specialty care.  Several departments have engaged with the subcommittee to review data that provides evidence of ColumbiaDoctors’ outstanding performance.

Two such programs were recently created. Michael G. Vitale, MD, chief quality officer for the Department of Orthopedics, successfully proposed a bonus program for pediatric spine surgery, which has demonstrated significant performance improvement each quarter.

Stephen G. Emerson, MD, PhD, director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, approached a commercial payer with the concept that RNA and DNA genetic sequencing in cancer patients drives better outcomes and decreases costs by virtue of eliminating ineffective treatment. Gold Health Strategies successfully negotiated a quality bonus program to further demonstrate the value in Dr. Emerson’s proposal.

A third program was recently presented to commercial payers related to colonoscopies. Colonoscopies performed at Columbia are superior at detecting polyps when benchmarked against national data.

“Screening for colon cancer saves lives,” said gastroenterologist Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, MS, an assistant professor of medicine at CUMC. “Our data demonstrates a higher adenoma detection rate largely due to adequate bowel prep and quality of the procedure in identifying polyps,” he said.

Dr. Lebwohl has been tracking performance data on both the quality of colonoscopy procedures and our adenoma detection rates across the GI Division and his data is ready to approach payers for a potential specialty bonus program.  

Learn more about colonoscopy and what Dr. Lebwohl has to say on his faculty profile.