Obama advisors urge faster shift to value-based reimbursement of healthcare providers

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Fee-for-service payment methods are the greatest impediment to an efficient healthcare system by incentivizing volume instead of better outcomes, advisors declared last week in a report to President Obama.

Current fee-for-service methods “reward procedures, not personalized care,” President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) said in a report it submitted to the White House on Thursday. The report calls on the country to move more quickly to payment models that rely on metrics to identify high-value care. In addition, the nation's healthcare system is hindered by an insufficient data infrastructure and limited technical capabilities, the panel noted.

Significant “unnecessary costs” have contributed to the nation's growing healthcare bill, which now consumes one-fifth of the total economy, researchers pointed out.

PCAST presented the president with a series of recommendations to reform the current reimbursement system, including adoption of systems engineering approaches, accelerating alignment of payment systems with desired outcomes, increasing access to relevant health data and analytics, involving communities in improving healthcare delivery, and training health professionals in new skills and approaches.

Increasing numbers of provider organizations are calling on reforms to the current reimbursement system. One major therapy association, for example, calls it a “flawed fee-for-service payment system” and Kindred Healthcare asserted that “current silo-based post-acute delivery and payment systems are unsustainable for the long term” in its recent “Blueprint for Reform” report.

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