Performance-based payments are increasingly common in primary care. With persistent disparities in the quality of care that different populations receive, however, such payments may steer new resources away from the care of racial and ethnic minorities and people of low socioeconomic status. We simulated performance-based payments to Massachusetts practices serving higher and lower shares of patients from these vulnerable communities in Massachusetts. Typical practices serving higher shares of vulnerable populations would receive less per practice compared to others, by estimated amounts of more than $7,000. These findings suggest that pay-for-performance programs should monitor and address the potential impact of performance-based payments on health care disparities.
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