When Hospitals Buy Doctor Practices – The New York Times

To the Editor:
Your article reflects the changes occurring in the medical landscape in Memphis and Nashville. We believe that hospital-doctor consolidation is appropriate and inevitable, and can provide more seamless care, yet it must be done with caution. We need to have enhanced professionalism by doctors, reoriented cost-efficiency among hospital administrators, smarter oversight by the government, and unwavering commitment to the patient centeredness among all. A more activist professionalism among doctors must openly counter the unspoken and unacceptable incentives that too often define doctor-hospital “productivity” more in terms of financial gain than patient outcome. Cost-efficiency must center entirely on value of care delivered to the patient, not on volume of services that generates more income. Oversight needs to focus on combating fraud and abuse but also on modernizing onerous outdated regulations that bind the hands of doctors and hospitals to give better care. In health care today, we are going through a tumultuous transition, with the new federal health reform law, escalating cost of health care, large mandatory cuts for doctors occurring in January, and certain reduction in Medicare financing in the fiscal-cliff negotiations. To get it right, all incentives for the new hospital-doctor relationships must realign solely around value to the patient. MANOJ JAIN
WILLIAM FRIST
Memphis, Dec. 4, 2012 The writers are, respectively, an infectious disease specialist; and a heart transplant surgeon and former United States Senate majority leader. Source: nytimes
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