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  • Will Pay-For-Performance Pay Off?

    WBUR - 11/06/2013

    Right now, health care payment is linked to services. Providers get paid, whether their outcomes are good or not. But, what if we linked pay to quality and efficiency of care? We’re about to find out. That’s because pay-for-performance programs are expanding across the United States health care system, especially under the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

    Will new financial incentives improve health care and lower costs? Northeastern University professor Gary Young explains how payment reform may be the key to the ultimate success or failure of Obamacare.

    Gary Young is director of the Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Research and professor of strategic management and healthcare systems at Northeastern University.

    There’s a trend in youth sports: We don’t keep score and everyone gets the same size trophy at the end of the season.

    Well, that’s also been the basic model for the health care system in the United States. We didn’t keep track of how well providers were doing their jobs and we gave them all the same size trophies.

    We called it “fee-for-service” and it was the predominant approach to paying for health care in this country for decades. Doctors and hospitals got paid for each service they provided (an appendectomy, a flu shot, an MRI, etc.), regardless of the outcome.