Docs not wild about P4P trend

According to a national poll by the American College of Physician Executives, almost 40 percent of the surveyed docs already are participating in some sort of pay-for-performance program, and almost 60 percent of those who aren't yet are thinking about it. That doesn't mean everyone's happy with the idea, though. From the press release:

    As one poll respondent put it, pay-for-performance programs "are an inevitable rising tsunami that will overtake us."

    Bonus pay for taking better care of patients certainly is controversial.

    "It is embarrassing to have to be paid to improve quality ... our industry has been lax," one poll respondent wrote.

    But a critic of bonus pay put it bluntly:

    Pay-for-performance programs "are the most recent scam to be perpetrated on physicians. Agree to them at your own peril. All physicians will regret their participation in any such program."

While 75 percent agreed that these programs reward physicians for meeting their performance goals, and 60 percent believe they encourage docs to improve patient care, only 38 percent believe P4P programs will help reduce the likelihood of medical errors. And it seems like I'm far from alone in this fear:

    One of the most alarming concerns about pay-for-performance is the fear that doctors will avoid or refuse to treat patients in order to improve their overall scores and get the bonus money.

    "There will be a dumping of non-compliant or difficult patients in order to have physicians performance appear good," one respondent predicted.

To obtain complete survey results and copies of the related articles, contact Bill Steiger at ACPE at [email protected] or 800-562-8088.

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