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Alternatives to Medicare's fee-for-service payment system examined
Date:9/5/2012

should be coupled with reforms in private insurance payment.

Medicare's first payment change was the hospital prospective payment system, introduced during 1983󈟀. But because it focused only on hospital care, its impact on total Medicare spending was limited.

In 2011 Medicare began a new initiative to expand the "bundled payment" concept to link payments for multiple services that patients receive during an episode of care. The goal of Medicare's current bundled payment initiative is to provide incentives to deliver health care more efficiently while maintaining or improving quality.

Robert Mechanic, a senior fellow at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, along with Darren Zinner, a social scientist at the Schneider Institute for Health Policy and a senior lecturer at the Heller School, have also published an article in the September issue of Heath Affairs. The article, entitled "Many Large Medical Groups Will Need To Acquire New Skills And Tools To Be Ready For Payment Reform," is a survey study regarding the readiness of medical groups for payment reform, particularly reform which holds health systems accountable for delivering care under predetermined budgets to help control spending.

The article also addresses improvements that medical groups might make to advance their readiness for payment reform. Mechanic and Zinner surveyed twenty-one large, multispecialty groups and list their findings within the study.

Mechanic was previously a senior health care analyst with Forrester Research and a senior vice president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association. From 1988 to 1998 he was a consultant and vice president with the Lewin Group, a Washington, DC-based health care consulting firm. He is currently a trustee of Atrius Health, a 1,000-physician multispecialty group practice.

His co-author, Darren Zinner, is a senior member of Brandeis University's Health Industry Forum, in a
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Contact: Susan Chaityn Lebovits
lebovits@brandeis.edu
781-736-4027
Brandeis University
Source:Eurekalert

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