P4P Quality

Tell me what you really think

I wrote last week about whether pay-for-performance (P4P) are doomed to fail.  One group of providers–physicians–certainly does not appreciate the current P4P programs instituted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  In a press release, the American Medical Association stated:

…it appears that CMS has made significant improvements  by recasting the EHR Meaningful Use program and by reducing quality reporting burdens….The existing Medicare pay-for-performance programs are burdensome, meaningless and punitive.  The new incentive system needs to be relevant to the real-world practice of medicine and establish meaningful links between payments and the quality of patient care, while reducing red tape.

Does P4P improve the quality of care patients receive by making physicians accountable for key quality metrics?  Or does quality only appear to improve due to better record keeping?  Could P4P reduce quality if physicians start spending more time on quality reporting paperwork and less time on patient care (see Code Black documentary).

The answers are unclear, but balancing quality measurement with reporting burden is clearly important to take into account.

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