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Financial incentives for physicians may not be working as expected

One premise behind the formation of accountable care organizations is that physicians and other health care providers would have financial incentives to deliver high quality care at lower costs. But research is indicting that the financial incentive may not be sufficient to foster improvements in care.

In other words, physicians don’t earn enough from the financial incentives to focus on improving quality of care. For journalists this point is important because health insurers and health systems often claim that by establishing new payment arrangements, physicians and other providers will be paid more for quality and quality scores will rise.

The question journalists can ask now is this: Are physicians and providers being paid enough for focusing on quality of care to make a difference in patient outcomes?

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