Everyone from government insurers to private payers is trying to apply the brakes to runaway spending on physician services. The healthcare system can no longer afford the trend of more doctors, more patients and more spending. One way insurers and payers are trying to break that habit is pay-for-performance reimbursement arrangements: paying doctors more for adopting practice patterns that lead to betterand, in theory, cheaperpatient outcomes, and penalizing those who dont.
As reporters Andis Robeznieks and Cinda Becker point out in this issues Feature, pay-for-performance programs are exploding nationally but with mixed results. Some practice patterns are changing, but many of those changes are not leading to the desired twin outcomes of better care and lower costs.
The person caught in the middle between payers and physicians often is the chief medical officerthose courageous souls who serve as the liaison between the C-suite, which is demanding more cost-effective care, and the medical staff, which is demanding more diagnostic tools to care for patients. CMOs often hold the power to make incentive programs work or fail.
And what do those CMOs get for their troubles other than more gray hair and less sleep? You can help Modern Physician find out by participating in this years Physician Executive Leadership Survey being conducted by the Physician Executive Management Center, a Tampa, Fla.-based search firm that specializes in placing physician-executives.
The deadline for participating in the survey is Oct. 15. Modern Physician will report the results of the survey exclusively in an upcoming issue.
The center's previous survey, which Modern Physician reported on exclusively in its August 2006 issue, revealed that CMOs, regardless of setting (hospitals, integrated health systems, group practices or managed-care plans), enjoyed double-digit pay raises in 2005, ranging from 13% to 19%. To view that story, visit the archives section of Modern Physician Online.
Pay raises like that will buy a lot of ulcer medicine ... unless theres a pay-for-performance program to prevent medical complications from work-related stress.