Magazine article Medical Economics

Physician Panel: How to Stall the Rise of Healthcare Costs

Magazine article Medical Economics

Physician Panel: How to Stall the Rise of Healthcare Costs

Article excerpt

Healthcare costs in the United States are rising at an unsustainable rate. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that spending hit $2.7 trillion in 2011 and could reach $4.8 trillion by 2021. What ideas do physicians have to halt this rise? The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened a panel of physicians to explore the topic.

A PANEL OF 18 physicians took part in an effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reach consensus on solutions to help stall the rise of healthcare expenses. The panel said getting buy-in from physicians on new payment models is crucially important. Not including that perspective would be "shortsighted and perilous."

"All physician panelists agreed that any new payment systems must be shaped in large part by physicians'own unique perspectives and clinical expertise," the report reads.

The panel agreed on five recommendations:

7. Payment models must be evidence-based, physician-endorsed, and thoroughly tested.

Panelists say physicians must have a "key role" in building new payment models. They also argued that CMS, as the largest payer in the healthcare system, must take the lead piloting new payment models.

2. Protecting and creating financial incentives is critical to broad physician buy-in.

Panelists say physicians are concerned that new payment models will reduce their income by as much as 20% to 30%. "Primary care physicians in the group are particularly concerned about income reductions, since they already have lower incomes than most specialties," the report reads. …

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