The insurer has made all physiotherapists sign up to a uniform approach to treatment and charges and a programme of clinical audit.
Bupa wants to eradicate what it describes as unwarranted variation – the situation where there is a significant variation in the amount of treatment performed for similar conditions or a variation in the cost per treatment session in the same area in similar facilities.
A review of the sector highlighted differences in the number of physiotherapy sessions for customers with the same condition and variation in the cost of treatment, in some situations of more than 200 per cent. The review also found a significant difference in the number of physiotherapy sessions received by Bupa insured customers with similar conditions – varying from one to sixteen. This caused some customers touse their available cover sooner than others.
Steven Pink, head of provider relations at Bupa Health Insurance says: “Our network has been designed to address unwarranted variation in the average number of physiotherapy sessions, treatment time and cost per treatment by applying a more consistent approach to quality, service and value. We are now able to offer our insured customers access to a network of providers that fulfils these criteria and should reduce the average cost of physiotherapy treatment by up to 10 per cent over the next couple of years.”
“There will occasionally be clinical reasons for some variation in treatment and our tender process, as well as the contracts we are agreeing with physiotherapists, reflect this. It is the unwarranted variation that we are seeking to reduce. As we approach the conclusion of our network roll-out we will be advising previously recognised Bupa providers who did not participate in the tender that funding will no longer be available for the treatment of Bupa customers.”