New Payment Methods Squeezing Doctors
As the government and insurers push to switch from traditional fee-for-service payments, doctors scramble to find ways to keep practices afloat.
The Wall Street Journal: Doctors Struggle To Make Ends Meet
It is a dilemma facing practices around the country as the U.S. begins a transition toward new ways of paying for health care. Insurers are increasingly targeting the traditional system that has paid hospitals and doctors for each service provided (rewarding them for more care but not better results). In the past few months, UnitedHealth, WellPoint and Aetna, the three biggest American health insurers, have announced plans to pay practices more if they make efforts like those at Westminster. The new reimbursement designs also can offer doctors significant financial rewards if they hit quality goals and reduce costs (Mathews, 3/14).
Georgia Health News: The New Health Care -- For Better Or Worse
The "good old days" of health care are disappearing -- if they're not gone already. Those were the days of consumers going anywhere they wanted to get medical care, and not paying any attention to the price, or to their state of "wellness." And the days of doctors and hospitals charging an extremely high price for services, and not paying close attention to the quality of their care, are also fading. The new landscape in health care was dissected by a panel of experts at a Wednesday symposium (Miller, 3/14).
Meanwhile, some parts of the country continue to face a doctor shortage --
California Healthline: Trying To Provide Solutions To Patient Access
The current primary care workforce shortage hits two areas in particular, according to researcher Catherine Dower of UCSF: the rural areas, and in urban areas among communities of color. "The biggest problem is the maldistribution of providers," Dower said. "Physicians tend to congregate in urban and suburban areas and along the coast. For every one new physician who goes to an underserved area, we have four that go to already-served areas" (Gorn, 3/15).