This can certainly make the decision process much easier for the patient and hopefully ends up with fair compensation for all physicians involved.   BD

To reduce patients' confusion, increase revenue, and improve care, the 50 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center doctors who work in the cardiology, cardiac surgery, and vascular surgery departments, along with senior hospital executives, have formed an independent corporation. For the first time, the doctors plan to share some of the revenue they generate. They say the new Cardiovascular Institute will increase cooperation, because they will be collectively responsible for the institute's success.

The most complicated aspect of the arrangement is how to share revenue. Traditionally, insurers make separate payments to a doctor and the hospital where a procedure is performed. Under the new setup , any growth in revenue paid to the hospital for cardiovascular procedures and testing will be shared with the Cardiovascular Institute. The institute also plans to use new formulas to share payments made to doctors. Until now, individual departments and their doctors have kept the fees they generate and decided how to distribute them.

A major stumbling block is pay disparity: Surgeons generally earn more money than other physicians, so sharing revenue equally could reduce their incomes. But the hospitals are testing the idea among smaller groups of doctors. At Brigham and Women's, radiologists and cardiologists who do cardiac imaging are pooling their professional fees, as are Mass. General specialists who do noninvasive procedures, such as ultrasound testing, in the vascular center.

"The best thing is to take the patient out of the middle and even the playing field in some way," said Dr. Andy Whittemore, the Brigham's chief medical officer.


Hat Tip:  Kevin MD


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