Savings Achieved with Innovative Physician Payment Method

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<p>Massachusetts physician groups participating in a new reimbursement model that rewards them for controlling spending and improving the quality of care delivered to their patients were able to reduce the rate of increase in health care spending over two years by an average of 2.8 percent, according to a new <a href="/publications/journal-article/2012/jul/alternative-quality-contract-based-global-budget-lowered">Commonwealth Fund–supported study</a> in <em>Health Affairs</em>. The savings and improvements in quality appear to be sustained, and were even greater in year 2 compared with year 1. <br /><br />
A total of 11 physician groups, comprising 1,600 primary care physicians and 3,200 specialists, participate in the five-year Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), which was launched by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts in 2009. Providers are given a global budget covering the entire continuum of patient care, and bonuses are available for meeting benchmarks for cancer screenings, well-child care, blood sugar control for diabetics, and other quality measures. </p>
<p>Savings accrued largely from reduced spending for procedures, imaging, and lab tests. The Commonwealth Fund is supporting a multiyear evaluation to compare changes in spending and quality for AQC providers and for medical practices not participating in the contract. </p>