KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Philadelphia Insurer To Implement Pay-For-Performance Model

The Philadelphia Inquirer: The Philadelphia region's largest health insurer, Independence Blue Cross, will begin a pay-for-performance model that pays physicians more if their patient's health gets better. The program rewards primary care doctors who provide higher quality care at less cost. "A key element of the program rewards doctors who meet standards as so-called patient-centered medical homes. Such practices offer greater access for patients, follow treatment guidelines, educate people to better manage their own health, and prescribe drugs by computer."

Doctors interviewed about the new plan are pleased that an insurer is helping to strengthen primary care and preventive medicine through the way they finance medical care, but many hope that they will also consider helping doctors pay for their administrative work.

Practices that already follow the guidelines to be rewarded by Independence have already shown they improve the health of patients. "Overall, diabetics at practices in the chronic-care initiative have had nearly a 25 percent improvement in their blood-sugar levels and blood pressure" (Goldstein, 4/30).

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