Obamacare to launch new payment scheme

Six years after President Obama’s health reforms became law, officials in his administration told POLITICO they are launching the largest-ever initiative to transform primary care in America, an effort to give doctors more flexibility and reward them for producing better results for their patients.

The experiment the administration will announce today, a program called Comprehensive Primary Care Plus, is intended to shake up the way 20,000 doctors and clinicians treat more than 25 million patients when it goes into effect in January 2017. In a sharp departure from the current “fee-for-service” system, which offers reimbursements per visit or procedure, providers who volunteer to participate will received fixed monthly fees for every patient and bonuses for meeting various quality goals. When their patients stay healthier and require less-expensive care, many primary care doctors will also share in the savings to Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers.

“The good news is, just about everyone seems to be buying into this kind of reform. You don’t hear people defending the current system of primary care,” said Marci Nielsen, CEO of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative. “The bad news is, wow, it’s complex, and it’s hard to make these reforms work.”


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