Every hospital executive wants to keep healthcare costs down which is why as hospitals are integrating provisions of healthcare reform into their care model, affiliating with and developing primary care clinics is of growing interest.
The plan to lower costs, improve quality and increase access begins with primary care physicians.
Seen as a renewed beacon in this time of healthcare reform, primary care providers are viewed in a heightened sense as gatekeepers to a healthier population. People who have a physician are more likely to take preventive health measures, health risk assessments, and participate in wellness programs according to an ‘08-’09 Watson Wyatt study. Likewise, IBM’s study of their $2 billion spent annually on healthcare globally found that increased primary access paved a way toward a healthier country and in turn, lower per capita healthcare spending.
Hospitals are already increasing access, especially as competition and reimbursement pressures grow. Patients need to be catered to which is why health systems nationwide are going to the patient, developing and acquiring practices in new locations to afford those community member the same level of access as others.
Primary care practices provide the capability to help hospital executives not just manage overall costs, but reduce them. As a life force for many hospitals, reimbursements continue to dwindle so decreasing healthcare costs throughout the system is something of great value. Primary care practitioners are especially helpful as hospitals are transitioning from the traditional fee-for-service model and embracing value-based purchasing.
Reimbursing hospitals on a quality versus quantity basis, value based purchasing rewards providers for keeping patients out of the hospital. Based on 25 quality measures and how much the hospitals’ performance improves from a baseline measurement, value based purchasing puts the primary care physician in a key role linking the hospitals’ quality and the patient experience. The greater the patient’s experience and hospitals performance is, the higher the incentive payment will be.
I believe hospitals partnering with primary care providers and operating around a health delivery model that rewards quality and accountability will prove to be advantageous as a method to control healthcare costs.
James Ellis, CEO, Health Care Realty Development Company, is a real estate investor and developer of medical office properties.
Aaron Razavi is Associate Marketing Director at Health Care Realty Development.
Visit their blog at http://www.hcrealty.com/medicalrealestatedevelopment/