Policy makers who are responsible for shaping how the federal government (the country’s biggest payer of health care services) pays physicians are pushing CMS on a rapid path away from traditional fee-for-service (FFS). As I discussed last year, CMS intends to have 50 percent of its payments flow through “alternative payment models” such as ACOs and bundled payments by 2018, with nearly all of the rest of the ...

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What is happening in medicine?  How will these changes affect our patients? How will they affect how we deliver health care?  These seem to be the questions asked most often amongst physicians across the country.  I do not profess to have a crystal ball nor can I state with any certainty what the profession we chose to dedicate our lives to will look like in the near future.  However, there ...

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American businesses hold a solution to one of the most fundamental flaws of American health care: misalignment of incentives. We live in a nation where profit-seeking behavior can be more alluring than high-quality patient care. To date, major health care reform efforts have paid little attention to the business community’s potential to address this issue. Status quo Currently, the status quo is such that health insurance companies and health care providers act ...

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The United States far outspends peer countries on health care. When American politicians complain about these high health care costs, they often vilify pharmaceutical and insurance companies for profiting at the expense of the general public. As I wrote earlier, such vilification is misguided, pushing too much of the blame on individual actors rather than on the system that incentivizes individuals to act those ways. So what it is ...

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Just as the U.S. health care system is about to make performance measurement a central feature of … well, just about everything doctors do … some prominent and highly influential physicians are asking for a pause and reassessment. Writing for the New York Times, Dr. Bob Watcher argues that, "Two of our most vital industries, health care, and education, have become increasingly subjected to metrics and measurements. Of course, ...

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May I whine for a few sentences, please? My staff and I have a high-deductible medical insurance plan. As the costs of coverage increased each year, we had to find a product that we could afford for our small private practice. As any small business owner knows, margins are tight, revenue is declining and expenses inexorably rise. And physicians, unlike other retailers, cannot raise our fees. Would you want to ...

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We physicians live in the shadow of rising health care costs.  Hospitals want us to cut length of stays and somehow become more efficient.   Insurance companies ask us to accept less money for patient visits, forcing us to see more people in fewer hours.  The government wants us to check a slew of electronic boxes to prove that we’ve performed what they deem to be best practices, even though there is ...

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Health care in America is fracturing right down the middle, and doctors are going to have to figure out if or how long they can straddle the divide between what patients want and what the government and corporate America want them to have. Up until this point, the momentum has been with the payers, Medicare, and the insurance industry. But the more heavy-handed they become, the more inevitable the public backlash ...

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At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Mr. Andrew Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced on January 11th that, “The meaningful use program as it has existed will now effectively be over, and replaced with something better,” and later clarified on Twitter that, “In 2016, MU as it has existed-- with MACRA-- will now be effectively over and replaced ...

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An excerpt from How Physicians Can Fix Health Care: One Innovation at a Time. I’ve studied lots of industries. In general, cost and quality compete on equal terms. Some companies emphasize cost, others quality, but both are always in the picture. And then there is health care. Uniquely among industries, health ...

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