Providing Physicians Bonuses For Improving Patient Care

Armen Hareyan's picture

A coalitionof large employers, including General Electric, IBM and Verizon Communications, is launching a program to give physicians bonuses for adopting a"more integrated approach to coordinating" employees' care, the Wall Street Journal reports. The program is part of Bridges to Excellence, which last year distributed about$10 million in bonuses to doctors for providing quality care and meeting othermeasures.

Under the new program, physicians would receive incentives for activities suchas following up with patients who have been referred to other physicians,tracking laboratory tests and flagging unusual results, and following medicalguidelines to treat different health conditions, according to the Journal.Participating doctors could receive about $125 per patient and a maximum of$100,000 in annual bonus payments. Part of the purpose behind the bonuses is tohelp physicians cover the cost associated with improving care, such as settingup an electronic health record system, according to the Journal.

Bridges to Excellence officials said that such approaches to patient care cancreate savings of between $250 and $300 per patient within the first year.Francois de Brantes, CEO of the program, said, "We know that in year one,the savings are there, so let's share half of that with physicians"(Fuhrmans, Wall Street Journal, 1/31).

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