Rewarding primary care physicians for providing better care to patients could end up widening medical disparities experienced by poorer people and by minorities. Increasing the number of primary care physicians is also not enough to boost U.S. health care quality and lower costs.
Increasingly common insurance plans that encourage patients to receive care from physicians who keep medical costs lower are based on unreliable estimates of doctor performance and may not achieve the intended savings.
A new RAND study outlines methods that might be used to test a novel payment system for medical care that would provide doctors, hospitals and other health providers a set fee for treating an ailment such as hip replacement surgery.
New recommendations to limit the work hours of medical residents and improve their educational conditions could cost the nation's teaching hospitals about $1.6 billion annually to hire substitute workers, though society may benefit if such changes reduce medical errors as intended.