Survey Finds Many Healthcare Organizations Use Physician Alignment Criteria in Incentive Plans

Monday, March 26th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Almost half of all healthcare organizations are using physician alignment criteria in their incentive plans, according to a new survey from Integrated Healthcare Strategies. The survey, which monitors trends in healthcare salary increases, incentive practices, and benefit changes, was expanded to include the prevalence of physician alignment goals, given the market’s increasing interest in it. The most popular goal is meeting CMS’s quality standards, followed by physician use of electronic patient records and readmission rates.

What incentives are you providing your physicians? Describe the physician reimbursement models in place at your organization by taking our Physician Reimbursement Models survey by April 15th and you will receive a free summary of survey results once it is compiled.

Nurses play a key role in a new initiative from CMS. The agency is seeking up to five hospitals working with nursing schools to train advanced practice registered nurses (APRN). Recognizing that nurses are crucial to a strong primary care work force, but that the cost of training APRNs has limited many hospitals and other healthcare providers from doing so, CMS will provide up to $200 million in funds for clinical training to those hospitals selected to participate in the program, which is expected to run for four years. Applications must be submitted by May 21, 2012.

Nurses could play a key role in another story we cover on the use of anesthesia providers to monitor sedation during colonoscopies and other gastro-intestinal-related procedures. The practice has more than doubled from 2003 to 2009, and is costing the United States more than $1 billion a year, says a new study from the RAND Corporation. Of particular concern is that most of the increase is coming from low-risk patients, who may not need the service. Instead, researchers point to current treatment guidelines that show that these procedures can be safely administered by physicians and assisting nurses if the patients are not at risk for anesthesia-related complications.

And, where is Gloria Steinem when we need her? A new report shows that women are paying more for the same healthcare coverage as men; inequities include policies that charge female non-smokers more than male smokers, and that provide no maternity coverage to women of child-bearing age. Variations exist in each state and across the country, researchers state.

These stories and more in this week’s issue of Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

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