Lagging quality of care in the U.S. health care system has been a persistent problem and challenge. In the past, medical professionalism and professional certification have served as cornerstones for improving quality in health care. Among newer efforts to improve quality, pay for performance has been proposed to propel better results, but many observers are concerned that pay for performance is at odds with medical professionalism. The authors examine the potential conflicts between pay for performance and medical professionalism and conclude that properly designed pay-for-performance models can support professional objectives.
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