Bundled Payment? Not So Fast!

From Boston.com’s ‘White Coat Notes’:

By Liz Kowalczyk

A new survey from the Massachusetts Medical Society reveals interesting divisions among doctors over plans to hold down health care spending — and perhaps some words of warning for lawmakers.

More than half — 58 percent — of the 1,100 doctors who responded to the society’s survey this year said they would not voluntarily agree to treat patients under so-called global payments.

Global payments, which are considered one of the best hopes for saving money on medical care, put providers on a monthly per-patient budget for care. That’s a big change from the current fee-for-service system, which allows doctors and hospitals to bill for each separate service rendered to a patient, with few limits on the number of services.

Primary care doctors were more accepting of global payments than specialists; just 32 percent of specialists said they would voluntarily participate in the system.

These responses may be instructive for legislators, who are working to finalize legislation that could include strong incentives for global payments. They may have to be ready to mandate the change to a new payment system and provide financial assistance with the transition, or at least be prepared for an intense educational campaign to bring doctors around.

The medical society did not ask doctors why they’re skeptical, but….

To read complete ‘Doctors: We aren’t ready for global payments’, click here.

Editors Note: so even in the ‘people’s republic’ of Massachusetts where innovation and a more ‘risk friendly’ attitude is found a la west coast culture, the mainstream of medicine’s comfort level remains attached to traditional fee for services compensation.


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