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Feb
21

Health care quality measures, politics, and dollars

There are lots of moving parts, political agendae, and battling priorities in the pay for performance movement, and it is getting even complicated-er. Today’s announcement by the AMA that it will produce metrics for assessment of physician quality (registration required) is a clear indicator that financial motivations have, at least temporarily, outweighed physicians’ measurement phobia.
There are two distinct but closely related and very powerful forces at work here – one financial and the other political. Financially, the key issue is concern among docs that these “quality indicators” will be used to reduce reimbursement. And that fear is not unfounded. One has to look no further than the latest Federal budget proposal and the annual battle over the mandatory reduction in Medicare physician fees to understand that the phobia has a solid foundation in reality.
Politically, Bush’s pronouncements in favor of consumerism as the solution to the health care cost crisis have painted him into a corner. Critics (myself among them) have noted many problems and challenges (read near insurmountable obstacles) with this approach, chief among them its breathtakingly na


3 thoughts on “Health care quality measures, politics, and dollars”

  1. I apologize for being a language nitpick, but “agendae” is not a word. “Agenda” is the plural form of the neuter gerund agendum. Literally translated agenda means “things to be done.” So a meeting’s agenda are the things to be accomplished. I’m guessing that agenda came to be treated as a singular because agenda came to be treated as meaning the list of things to be done. In modern English usage, I’m pretty sure that agendas is an acceptable plural form, but I’ve never seen the Latinate feminine plural agendae used.

  2. thanks Abby – I must have over-done my high school Latin classes…
    Todd – the White House plan is not a plan – it is cost-shifting.
    there are any number of alternate health care proposals out there – single payer, German-style, NHS-style, Libertarian, etc. Look and ye shall find…on the blogroll on my main page.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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