Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Current events: NYT aritcle on "problem docs"

Had a bad experience with a doc? The NYT continues its series on being a health care consumer with an article ("When the Doctor Is in, but You Wish He Wasn't") about patients' bad experiences with physicians and some strategies used to prevent such experiences:
At the Rochester Independent Practice Association in New York, with 3,000 doctors, patients are surveyed, and their satisfaction scores can account for 20 percent of a doctor's pay. At Tufts Health Plan, 3,000 to 4,000 doctors had all or part of their bonuses withheld last year because their patients did not rate them highly, said Richard Lynch, the plan's vice president of network contracting.
In California, said Dr. Ronald Bangasser, the past president of the California Medical Association, eight major health insurers have a new program in which they divide $30 million among 35,000 physicians depending on how their patients rate them. 'It could be $3,000, $4,000 or $5,000 per physician,' Dr. Bangasser said. 'That would get their attention.'

Should doctors be motivated to make their patients like them more? Sure, as long as the incentive to provide quality care remains much, much stronger.
Link (free reg req'd)

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