KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Doctors Weigh Changes In Intern Hours, Role With Patients, Pay Models

Many changes in the way America's doctors deliver care are challenging long-held notions of how health care functions for patients.

Kaiser Health News: Some Doctors Questioning Whether Shorter Shifts For Interns Are Endangering Patients
These days, interns, as first-year residents fresh out of medical school are known, no longer face the punishing shifts Casoy endured just four years ago. In July 2011, after more than two decades of impassioned debate, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) reduced the maximum allowable shift for the least experienced doctors from 30 straight hours to 16. ... But as a new class of interns, who arrived July 1, begins treating patients in teaching hospitals around the country, a recent spate of studies questions whether the rules have made the situation worse (Boodman, 7/9).

In the meantime, a study looks at doctors' roles in coordinating care and the savings that it could bring --

Detroit Free Press: Blue Cross Study: 1 Doctor Overseeing Care Better For Health, Cuts Costs
A single doctor overseeing your care not only improves your health, it shrinks the cost of maintaining it, according to a new study based on the actual cases by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan doctors. The study found adult patients who belong to a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) saved an average of $26.37 a month per person, or an estimated $155 million collectively over the first three years, according to the study published this month in the journal, Health Services Research (Erb, 7/8).

And doctors report difficulties with new payment methods --

Medpage Today: Group Practices Struggle With New Pay Models
Collaborating with payers to implement new payment models was an intense challenge this year, according to a survey of 1,067 group practice executives. In fact, preparing for different reimbursement models was executives' second-biggest concern, behind rising operating costs, a survey of members of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) -- American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) showed (Pittman, 7/8).

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