Beth Israel (MA) doctors take risk for managing care

WBUR, December 10, 2010

If you feel the earth shaking near Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the next few months, it may be the rumble of 1,800 physicians adjusting to a new way to deliver and get paid for care. These doctors are the latest and largest physicians group to sign a global budget contract for HMO patients at Blue Cross — and many are uneasy.

“There’s guarded optimism, there’s outright anxiety, there’s everything in between,” said Rich Parker, medical director at the Beth Israel Deaconess Physician Organization.

Parker and other leaders are convinced that moving away from a system in which doctors are paid based on volume, regardless of quality or need, to one with bonus payments for keeping patients healthy makes sense. A growing number of doctors and hospitals is taking this admittedly risky step.

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