The Doctor’s Note: Quality care and cervical cancer prevention

Quality matters and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) is committed to working collaboratively with our providers to improve quality. One way we are doing this is to provide incentives to providers for completing recommended preventive screening tests for members.

An example is cervical cancer screening for adult women, as recommended by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), and included in the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) of quality measures. BCBSKS provides incentives to our contracting providers for achieving high scores on some HEDIS quality measures.

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that can often be prevented through screening. Most cases of invasive cervical cancer in the United States today occur in women who have not had the recommended screening tests. The most common and well-known test to prevent cervical cancer is the Pap test.

The Pap test is recommended for all women starting at age 21, and then every three years until age 29. After age 29, screening is recommended every 3-5 years, depending on your clinical circumstances.

Testing requires an examination by a health care provider, and BCBSKS will offer in 2019 a financial incentive to our providers for ensuring all eligible women are screened for cervical cancer according to the latest guidelines.

We see this as a win-win situation where providers are incentivized for providing high quality care and members are receiving care consistent with national guidelines. Preventing serious health problems improves health outcomes and saves money in the long term, helping to keep insurance premiums more affordable.

Do your part to stay healthy by talking with your physician about the preventive tests that are appropriate for you.


Michael Atwood, M.D., CHIE, is the vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. He is a board certified family physician and an American Academy of Family Physicians fellow.

Note: Since the date of this publication, Dr. Atwood has retired from BCBSKS.

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