Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Coordination of Care is Long Overdue

MedPage Today put up a link to an interesting read yesterday. Dr. Fred N. Pelzman,  a primary care physician at Weill Cornell Internal Medicine Associates, blogs about news in the world of medicine. His recent post, Pelzman's Picks: Interesting Reads in Primary Care included a link to a New York Times article entitled Medicare to Start Paying Doctors Who Coordinate Needs of Chronically Ill Patients.  Here's a sample but head over to read it all:
WASHINGTON — In a policy change, the Obama administration is planning to pay doctors to coordinate the care of Medicare beneficiaries, amid growing evidence that patients with chronic illnesses suffer from disjointed, fragmented care. 
Although doctors have often performed such work between office visits by patients, they have historically not been paid for it. Continue reading here
This surprised me. It never occurred to me that these physicians who choose to do the right thing in overseeing all aspects of chronically ill patients' care would not be reimbursed.

It's about time that:

  • providers and insurers recognize the complex needs of chronically ill patients AND
  • these physicians are reimbursed. Although the monetary amount is minimal ($42 per month and the patient picks up a portion of the cost). 

I think this is money well spent for these vitally important services:
As part of the new service, doctors will assess patients’ medical, psychological and social needs; check whether they are taking medications as prescribed; monitor the care provided by other doctors; and make arrangements to ensure a smooth transition when patients move from a hospital to their home or to a nursing home.

1 comment:

Kate S said...

This is great news. It will help reduce some of the stress on primary care physicians, many of whom are paid for the number of patients they see, not what they do.

I read a blog by a dr who has gone into "concierge medicine" because he felt he couldn't spend enough time keeping his patients well, instead of focusing time on "procedures", which is how billing works. Interesting guy -

Next need - ability to exchange doctor's records easily.