Thursday, February 18, 2010

Looking Back, Moving Forward | Health Care Reform Center - NEJM

by Jonathan Skinner, Ph.D., Douglas Staiger, Ph.D., and Elliott S. Fisher, M.D., M.P.H.

The recent Senate election in Massachusetts may reshape or delay health care reform, but we still face the twin challenges of unsustainable cost increases and uneven quality that plague U.S. health care. Recent controversies have left many people confused about how we might wisely move forward.

One such controversy is the debate over the “value index,” a reimbursement approach that would adjust providers’ payments on the basis of regional performance on quality and cost measures. Legitimately concerned that careless implementation of a value index might hurt some preeminent teaching institutions, some leaders of academic medical centers have responded to this proposal by questioning the validity of existing measures of cost performance, many of which have been generated from Medicare data by our Dartmouth research group.
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