Physicians and providers are currently rewarded economically for interventions, particularly invasive ones. It is recognized that coordinated care which emphasizes prevention and, when needed, interventions over time, and is focused on a motivated and involved patient, provides the most cost effective outcomes. Reimbursement for prevention and coordinated care to minimize disease is insufficient to cover costs. Yet reimbursement must be structured to reward such care.
PPACA addresses these issues, but the solutions require the establishment of new bureaucracies, many years, and changes that will be subject to intense political debate. The type of care needed to improve health, outcomes and decrease costs is well understood today, but little is being done to foster its adoption. Care must be coordinated, personalized, preventative, and involve an engaged patient. Unfortunately, current incentives work against such models of care being established. I don’t see a timely solution, given the current approaches.
To foster change, I propose highlighting the imperative to do so along with the establishment of a bipartisan Presidentially-appointed committee charged to recommend new models of coordinated care delivery and reimbursement strategies. The Bowles-Simpson Committee is an example of a bipartisan approach to recommend solutions to knotty problems. The report of a Health Delivery Improvement Committee could be expected within six months. Both private insurance and CMS could provide reimbursement incentives to foster recommended changes rapidly. The answer to our current wasteful approach to health care will be far easier to find than overall solutions to a tepid economy, but the former will provide strong support to make the latter solution easier.