Managed Care

Docs distrust 'pay for performance'

When it comes to pay-for-performance programs, physicians view them with "deep suspicion," says Bill Steiger, editor of the Physician Executive, the journal of the American College of Physician Executives. He bases this assertion on results of a recent national poll undertaken by the association.

The survey showed that physicians "are not convinced the payment systems will be fair. Some survey participants even speculated that if too many physicians started meeting the quality standards and collecting the extra pay, then the standards would quickly be raised as a way to cut costs," says Steiger. Nearly 40 percent of the 932 physician executives who completed the poll are already participating in some sort of pay-for-performance program. Of the 53 percent who aren't yet involved in pay for performance, nearly 60 percent are considering it.

Of those involved in pay-for-performance programs, 75 percent say that the programs reward physicians who meet performance goals, and a majority (60 percent) also say the programs provide incentives to physicians to improve quality. But when it comes to reducing medical mistakes, fewer participants (38 percent) believe the programs are making a difference.

Managed care organizations and other organizations interested in setting up a pay-for-performance program "would be well-advised to include a strong dose of physician input during the [development] process," Steiger concludes.

Do you believe the pay-for-performance program is: (check all that apply)

Generally speaking, do you believe pay-for-performance programs are a fair way to reward physicians for quality improvement

Source: American College of Physician Executives

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