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Quality incentives more common under capitation, but productivity still dominates physician comp

Although the percentage of physicians in group practice whose compensation is based in part on quality measures increased from 17.6% in 2000-2001 to 20.2% in 2004-2005, far more physicians strive for financial incentives tied to individual productivity, according to a national study conducted by researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) in Washington, DC. "Physician practices' heavy reliance on productivity-based compensation, which reflects the dominant fee-for-service reimbursement system used by payers, likely increases the cost of care by encouraging the provision of more services to patients," Paul B. Ginsburg, PhD, president of HSC, a nonpartisan policy research organization funded principally by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a January 4 press release. However, the study shows that quality-based compensation is far more prevalent under capitated arrangements.