Tying physicians' reimbursements to how well they score on a Medicare report card is akin to the federal government having schools submit to No Child Left Behind, asserts Dr. Barry Schumer, a Lexington-based internal medicine physician. As the federal education-reform effort resulted in teachers "teaching to the test," the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative will only result in doctors treating to one, Schumer's op-ed piece in the Lexington Herald-Leader reads.
"The idea that a check-list of dos, don'ts and test scores will result in an upgrade of care delivery is reminiscent of the government supposition that it alone could legislate the teacher-student relationship in the interest of improving education outcomes," Schumer writes. "It didn't work in education, and it won't work in health care."
Schumer contends the program "did not ask patients what they believe are the key elements of a high-quality doctor-patient relationship, nor was their input or opinion sought on whether they want their physician financially penalized for non-compliance with these mandates." Also ignored, he says, were primary-care providers, "any of whom could easily describe how increasing government regulations, mandating the purchase and use of expensive technology, and the threat of stiff financial penalties will not only detract from the care of patients but, worse yet, will drive already overwhelmed providers out of practice altogether." (Read more)