More physicians take part in pay-for-performance when incentives grow

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 25, 2009

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A greater number of doctors participate in and achieve the goals of pay-for-performance programs when financial rewards for doing so increase, according to a study in the May American Journal of Managed Care.

"The bottom line is simple: P4P works. However, to work, the incentives have to be meaningful and relevant to the physicians," said Francois de Brantes, lead author. He is also the chief executive officer of Bridges to Excellence, a nonprofit in Newtown, Conn., working with large employers, health plans and medical professionals to improve quality of care.

The authors analyzed data on several such initiatives established by Bridges to Excellence. Physicians had the possibility of earning nothing in pay-for-performance money or as much as $14,940, although the average actually given out ranged from $174 to $687 depending on the program. The growth in willingness to participate correlated directly with the size of potential payments. No cutoffs emerged revealing how high possible payments should go to prompt all physicians to participate or how low they could go before all declined.

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