Practice Matters

News from Lola Butcher about health policy and practice management issues of importance to oncologists

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Will payers become your new best friends?

When I interviewed an extremely savvy primary care physician this morning, I almost gasped when he said that his primary care colleagues are beginning to view hospitals -- and medical specialists -- as “commodities.”


I won’t go into his argument at the moment, but suffice to say he made a compelling case. The basic reason is that, as the “accountable care” era marches forward, primary care physicians increasingly will be in control of where and how patients are treated, and their incentives for making choices are changing rapidly.


This was swirling in my mind when I read the first installment of a new blog series called “The Hundred Year Shift.”


The series is written by Vince Kuraitis of the e-CareManagement blog and Jaan Sidorov, MD, who writes the Disease Management Blog.


Both are smart fellows, and I’m looking forward to their thoughts on a potential “tectonic realignment” between physicians, hospitals, and payers.


Their first installment makes the prediction that, in the future, physicians’ economic interests will be increasingly aligned with those of their traditional archenemies, the insurance companies.


Physicians decreasingly will be supportive of or indifferent to overutilization of high cost resources (admissions, ER visits, procedures) – in fact, just the opposite,” the authors say. “Their professional and economic success will directly depend on providing value-based care and optimizing (rather than maximizing) utilization of hospital resources.”


I encourage you to check out the “Introduction and Overview” of the blog series, and I cannot wait to see what they say next. I will keep you posted.


In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts about their prediction. Leave a comment here or tweet me at @lolabutcher