Wednesday, June 27, 2012
New health care models must be data-based, physician-led
Physicians attending an education session June 18 at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates discussed opportunities to improve the health care system for everyone through enhanced care for patients, lower costs for payers and better pay for physicians.
Presenter Harold Miller, a national expert in quality and payment reform, emphasized the opportunity for achieving all three of these goals, although, he said, "it seems like a minor miracle." The two most important criteria for success are physician leadership and data analysis.
Miller explained that reducing health care costs does not require either cutting services or physician payments. Rather, the opportunity for savings lies in numerous other expenses, such as unnecessary emergency room visits, avoidable complications, and hospital and device costs.
In order to establish new payment and delivery models with achievable goals, physicians need to analyze a variety of data, including the costs associated with local hospitals, payment amounts from individual payers and benchmark data.
Physicians immediately lined up to share their ideas for reducing health care costs during two interactive portions of the session. About two dozen delegates offered a wide range of suggestions, including performing more procedures in the office instead of in an expensive hospital operating room, reducing unnecessary tests through health IT use and adhering to best practices established by specialties.
The AMA offers a variety of educational resources to help physicians pursue payment and delivery innovations.
Read more about the education session in a recent post to On the Road with Dr. Lazarus, the AMA president's blog.
Act now to avoid 2013 ePrescribing penalty
The June 30 deadline for fulfilling the Medicare ePrescribing program requirements is just days away.
Physicians have until June 30 to avoid a 1.5 percent reduction in next year's Medicare Part B payments. The Medicare ePrescribing penalty program requires physicians to report on at least 10 e-scripts or file for a hardship exemption to prevent the reduction.
A tip sheet from the AMA explains in detail who must meet the program requirements and the steps that must be taken immediately in order to meet the deadline and avoid the penalty.