The Louisiana Medicaid program has made its first payments to primary care providers participating in the new CommunityCARE Immunization Pay-for-Performance Initiative.  This initiative was enacted in July of last year with the goal of increasing child immunizations in the state by monetarily rewarding doctors who make sure children receive their necessary shots.

The total payment to 184 participating CommunityCARE doctors for the period of July – September 2006 is approximately $219,000.  The next payments will be made at the end of this month for October – December 2006.  Payments for January – March 2007 are then scheduled for the end of May, which will bring the program up-to-date with retroactive payments, and on-going quarterly payments will begin.

“I am very pleased to see this program getting off to such a strong start,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Fred Cerise.  “In recent years, Louisiana has moved from 46th to 32nd in the nation for child immunizations.  It is active measurers like this one that will drive that improvement to even more impressive heights.”

A study released last week by the Commonwealth Fund (a private foundation that finances health care research) revealed that more than half of all U.S. states reward doctors for delivering high-quality care to patients in government health care programs for the poor.  The study also showed that almost 85 percent of state Medicaid programs plan to have pay-for-performance measures in place within five years.

To take part in the Louisiana Medicaid program’s Pay-for-Performance Initiative, primary care providers must be enrolled in and utilizing both the Vaccines for Children Program and the Louisiana Immunization Network for Kids Statewide (LINKS) immunization registry.

A full list of eligibility requirements and pay tiers for the new Pay-for-Performance Initiative can be found at under the heading “CommunityCARE Immunization P4P Initiative.”