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A few days ago, the nation’s largest municipal healthcare organization – The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) – announced a major new pay-for-performance agreement with its physician affiliate groups. The agreement “will reward doctors with up to $59 million in incentive payments over the next three years for meeting the public hospitals system’s goals to improve patient care, efficiency, patient satisfaction and align with the new demands of healthcare reform,” according to a press release from HHC.
The organization, which includes eleven hospitals, a few skilled nursing facilities, and more than 70 community-based clinics. Bonus payments from the pay-for-performance agreement HHC announced will be divided between three physician groups over three years, if they meet these standards, according to the release:
We’ll see. The most interesting part of the Times piece was the reaction of an official in Los Angeles County (which happens to have the second-biggest public health system after HHC). He said he was intrigued and that L.A. might consider doing something like it in the future. The article adds, “Administrators at several private New York hospitals said they were considering incorporating the federal benchmarks into their salary structures, but have not yet done so on a significant scale.”
So maybe, after many years of talk, pay for performance is finally due to have its day on a truly wide scale. I’m all for giving it a shot. I’ve long believed that nothing really changes in healthcare unless financial incentives change. What remains to be seen is whether this sort of “bold experiment” will pay off to the benefit of patient care.