Former AMA president working on new IOM project

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 16, 2004

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Former AMA President Alan R. Nelson, MD, who previously chaired an Institute of Medicine committee looking into health care disparities, has begun work on a new IOM panel looking into health insurance benefits, payment and performance improvement programs.

The BPPI panel, which held its first of nine scheduled meetings Aug. 3-4, was born out the Medicare Modernization Act and is expected to produce a report in three years.

"There is a lot of movement in a lot of areas to reward quality in terms of payment," Dr. Nelson said. "Of course, that's logical, because one could say it does not make sense to pay a physician the same if they don't follow practice guidelines.

"There are pressures from a whole host of sources to improve quality of care, and payment processes should not be totally divorced from that," he added. "The important thing is to make sure that the processes make sense with risk adjustments for severity of illness."

Dr. Nelson said it's likely incentive-based systems rather than punishment-based systems will be endorsed and that the panel's recommendations will receive close scrutiny from Congress.

"They will be seriously considered by Congress, as Congress asked for this study," he said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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