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From Christine Williamson, Vice President at Greenough Brand Storytellers
Promising new results as value-based care movement accelerates
A new study from researchers at Harvard Medical School found that a payment plan rewarding doctors who curb costs is linked to smaller increases in health care spending and better-quality care. The new reimbursement structure from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts gives doctors a fixed amount of money per patient. When doctors stay on budget and improve patient care, they can earn bonuses. If not, they can be penalized.
Alternative payment models like this are showing promise and deserve to be adopted more broadly. By rethinking reimbursement, providers and payers together can debunk the myth that controlling costs will negatively impact care quality.
Five states have passed laws this year to restrict surprise billing in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Federal laws are also in the works. But as Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times write, “Ordinary ambulances that travel on roads have been left out of every bill.” This is especially concerning given that new research from the University of Missouri-Kansas City found that 51 percent of ground ambulance rides will result in an out-of-network bill. By contrast, only 19 percent of emergency room visits have the same result.
As measles cases reach the highest levels in decades, public health officials in New York and across the country are increasingly relying more on nurses and community groups to teach doctors how to respond respectfully and effectively to parents’ vaccination concerns. Advocacy groups have always played an integral role in an effective communications strategy. We’re glad to see health officials are finally utilizing this important channel to clear up misconceptions surrounding vaccine safety.
Removing regulatory barriers
Access to care is one of the biggest problems in healthcare. To get doctors in the field and caring for patients faster, Massachusetts regulators are taking steps to reduce the nearly year-long wait physicians face before they are cleared to practice medicine. According to the state’s Health Policy Commission, certifications, credentialing and reimbursement issues with insurers are creating administrative burdens and unnecessary costs. It’s time to remove those barriers.