Atul Gawande Talks Payment Reform: “A field that rewards people for doing 15 image scans, or doing an extra operation, but does not reward for helping people avoid the need for those is doomed to failure.”

HCFA friend Dr. Atul Gawande was interviewed on WBUR’s On Point show this morning. He spoke eloquently about health care costs being the greatest threat to our economy, telling about the Newton school superintendent being more worried about health care costs than education reform.

He strongly endorsed moving forward with payment reforms that reward physicians and hospitals that show lower complication rates, and that incentivize care teams built around primary care.

He cited both the positive results in the MGH Medicare Care Management Program (see this evaluation summary, calling it a home run), and the success of the Children’s Hospital Boston asthma management initiative.

Talking to the CommonHealth blog, he identified the mood in Massachusetts as similar to the run-up to Chapter 58: “As a state, there’s already more happening in Massachusetts on cost containment than in any other state in the country. And it feels a lot like in the early days when we talked about trying to achieve universal coverage here.”

His comments about payment reform (and about exercise) were filmed for a video by WBUR:

-Brian Rosman

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