Value-Based Pay Slowly Hits Doctor Wallets

Doctors are seeing more payments from value-based care contracts, but fee-for-service medicine that pays physicians based on volume is still dominant, new data shows.

Nearly one-third, or 32%, of physicians were offered a production bonus based entirely or in part on “value-based” metrics last year compared to 23% the prior year, according to physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins. Meanwhile, 6% of total compensation is tied to quality or value-based metrics, compared to less than 5% in 2015.

The increase in value-based reimbursement comes as health insurers and government health programs including Medicare under the Affordable Care Act emphasize lower-cost outpatient care to curb rising costs. Insurers tend to dangle more financial carrots before primary care doctors to improve outcomes, increase quality and keep patients away from hospital care and more expensive specialists.

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