AETNA: New Head For USQA, Industry Changes Ahead
On the heels of its recent acquisition of Prudential Health Care Co., Aetna Inc. has announced that John Kelly will take the helm of its performance-management arm, U.S. Quality Algorithms (USQA). The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Kelly comes to USQA from Atlanta-based health care information systems company HBO & Co., where he served as vice president and director of medical affairs. USQA was formed by U.S. Healthcare Inc. in 1990, and retained its function when the company was swallowed by Aetna in 1996. USQA provides medical advice to Aetna physicians "to help them improve their medical care," Kelly said. In his new position, he aims to "increase the number of reports his staff issues as well as the number of recipients" (Briggs, 12/14).
The front page of today's New York Times business section takes a look at the HMO industry in the wake of the Aetna expansion, noting that the company will "determin[e] the medical care of 18.4 million Americans" through contracts with more than 50% of the country's physicians. The "down side" of the acquisition, according to the Times, is "that Aetna will be so big that a serious misstep could sour investors on the whole managed care industry." As for how Aetna will "compete in a commodity-like business where many of the same doctors and hospitals are available at similar prices from the three remaining nationwide insurers," check out the Times article for predictions and analysts' forecasts (Freudenheim, 12/14).