A Decade-Old Experiment To Control Massachusetts’ Health Care Costs Is Actually Paying Off
Blue Cross’s payment program gives doctors a fixed amount of money to take care of their patients. When doctors stay on budget and improve care, they can earn bonuses. If not, they can be penalized. “This contributes to a growing sense that smarter ways of paying for health care are going be to an important part of the solution to rising health care costs,” said Katherine Baicker, dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
Blue Cross’s Approach To Paying Doctors Based On Quality Of Care Shows Results, Harvard Study Finds
A decade-old experiment to put a dent in Massachusetts health care costs by changing the way doctors are paid appears to be working — offering a potential strategy to combat one of the most vexing problems in today’s economy. In a new study, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that a payment plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts that rewards doctors who control costs is linked to smaller increases in health care spending and better-quality care. (Dayal McCluskey, 7/18)
Changing The Way Doctors Are Paid Made Patients Healthier And Saved Money, Study Finds
The program, called the Alternative Quality Contract, works in two key ways. First, health care providers like Atrius Health, which joined in 2009, received bonuses to pay for upgrades at their medical practices like additional staff and improved electronic medical records. “That allows us to invest in infrastructure and connect better with our patients and do a better job,” Strongwater says. “The goal [of that] is to keep patients healthier through prevention and early intervention.” The idea, he says, is that healthier patients cost the system less overall. (Chen, 7/18)