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Mayo Clinic Offers Perspective on Health Care Reform in New England Journal of Medicine

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:04pm
Mayo Clinic's perspective about how to get high-value health care is the focus of a Perspectives article in the New England Journal of Medicine, published online on Sept. 23, 2009, and in the print issue on Oct. 1, 2009.

"We must hold physicians and other providers accountable for providing high-value health care, defined in terms of both quality and cost," say Denis Cortese, M.D., president and CEO of Mayo Clinic and Jeff Korsmo, executive director of the Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center. To help achieve this goal, Cortese and Korsmo recommend basing a portion of Medicare payments to physicians and hospitals on value scores (measurable good outcomes, safety and service delivered at a lower cost), rewarding those providers who deliver high-value care and providing an incentive for others to improve.

In their essay, Dr. Cortese and Korsmo emphasize other key points to achieve true patient-centered health care reform including:

•Coordinating patient care services across people, functions, activities, sites, and time

•Reducing conflict of interest so physicians have less of a personal financial incentive to order unnecessary tests or procedures

"It should also be noted that researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice have studied regional variation in health care quality and spending," says Korsmo. "They have documented that more care does not necessarily translate into better care. The research suggests that the United States could reduce health care costs by 30 percent or more if all regions practiced to the standard of the best-performing medical centers." The article can be viewed online.

Note: The New England Journal of Medicine also published a Mayo Clinic survey on physicians' beliefs and health care reform in the Sept. 14 issue. It can be viewed online.
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