Patient characteristics linked to quality ratings of PCP’s

Among primary care physicians practicing within the same large academic primary care system, patient panels with greater proportions of underinsured, minority, and non–English-speaking patients were associated with lower quality rankings for primary care physicians, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study concludes that by not adjusting for patient characteristics, physicians may be penalized for taking care of more vulnerable patients, leading physicians to select patients to improve their quality scores. This may result fewer resources for at risk populations.

(Sources: The Journal of the American Medical Association, http://jama.ama-assn.org, September 8, 2010; The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com, September 30, 2010)