Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Medicare to pay docs for quality care?

As reported in the New York Times today, the government is offering a bonus to doctors if they report on the quality of their patient care. They will be required to measure this quality by using standards specified by the U.S. Government.

Huh? Since when is the government the arbiter of quality care? By the “government” do they mean a room full of qualified doctors and health professionals who just happen to be senators and members of Congress? If not, how did our elected officials suddenly become qualified to judge and set the standards for quality care? Do the patients get to vote whether or not they were well cared for?

As Representative Peter Stark (CA) says, “The entire concept of pay-for-performance is offensive.”

I agree. If my doctor wants to prescribe a drug off-label because he has the experience to do so, I want him to receive the bonus for his decision to care for me as he sees fit. That’s why I go to him when I’m ill instead of my senator.

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