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Physician Pay Increasingly Tied to Quality Metrics

Trend expected to accelerate as reimbursement shifts towards performance-based pay

THURSDAY, Dec. 26, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Physician groups are increasingly incorporating quality metrics into their internal reimbursement structure, according to an article published Nov. 25 in Medical Economics.

The Medical Group Management Association-American College of Medical Practice Executives conducted a survey on physician compensation and production and found that primary care physicians generated 3 percent of their total compensation last year based on quality measures, while performance-based data were tied to 2 percent of total compensation for specialists.

This shift in payment structures is an extension of the health care marketplace's transition away from paying for volume in favor of quality-based reimbursement. This trend in compensation models is expected to accelerate and will match practices' revenue flow which will also be tied to metrics of patient satisfaction, quality of care, and cost containment. In deciding which metrics to reward, practices should examine where payers are or will be offering incentives. However, experts warn that in this period of transition, practices should not focus on too many target measures and should be aware of the associated administrative work.

"If you're going to get paid on value, it's time to think about compensation with some of those value components in it because you need to focus attention on physicians and clinicians meeting certain goals related to federal programs and payer changes," said Deborah Walker Keegan, Ph.D., president of Medical Practice Dimensions in Asheville, N.C., according to the Medical Economics article.

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