Physician Incentive PlansIn healthcare, there are a wide number of options that offer monetary incentives to healthcare providers. These are known as Physician Incentives Plans, or PIP for short. There are currently around 40 different PIP available across the United States, and for some doctors, they can amount to quite a large proportion of income. Most analysts believe the use of PIP is set to continue for the foreseeable future, too, despite conflicting data in studies that have tried to establish whether they do in fact lead to better outcomes for patients.

Here, we take a look at what PIP is, and how they work:

What Is a PIP?

PIPs were introduced to try and improve the healthcare services received by patients on Medicare and Medicaid. In general, doctors are paid on a fee per service basis for seeing these patients, and it was noticed that while this incentivized them to treat large volumes of patients, it didn’t necessarily do anything to ensure that the patients were getting a high quality service with the best health outcomes from it. PIPs sought to address this by rewarding physicians for certain behaviors that promote the best health for their patients, and were intended to raise healthcare standards.

What Are Some of the Things That PIPs Reward Doctors for Doing?

While physicians do of course have to give the best care and attention to patients and the problems they come and see them about, PIPs encourage them to promote better overall health, and also to adopt ways of doing things that will make the care they give patients more efficient.

PIPs can incentivize behaviors, like counselling a patient who has some lifestyle factors that may affect overall health like smoking or being overweight, to adopt healthier patterns – even when this is not something that directly relates to the condition they are seeking treatment about. Other PIP incentives exist for adopting the best technology and internal processes, to give patients better care. Patient satisfaction can also be rewarded by PIPs.

While the various incentives vary between all of the available PIPs, the goal is to improve quality in healthcare by rewarding behaviors and quality control processes that favor the overall patient and public health, and as you might expect from a system that rewards professionals financially, all PIPs are subject to PIP regulations aimed at making them fair for participants too – and to ensure physicians don’t limit service to patients for whom they are not eligible for PIP payments.

Do PIPs Work?

While some research shows that PIPs do promote a better service and more positive health outcomes, this is a controversial area because so many factors can affect the statistics of one physician’s practice compared with another.

However, with the number of PIP plans on the increase, it definitely seems like there is enough support for this approach for it to continue, perhaps with some efforts going towards streamlining PIPs to really help them drive physicians toward the best medical service.

Content supplied by Calvin Page.


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