• ACOs coming to Massachusetts?

    From today’s Boston Globe:

    Governor Deval Patrick’s administration is reviving the state’s ambitious plan to change how doctors and hospitals are paid, aiming to hand the Legislature a specific proposal by Jan. 1 and end months of disagreement over how to control health care spending. […]

    The system, called global payments, would require doctors, hospitals, and other providers to band together into groups called accountable care organizations that would split the payments and better coordinate patient care, thereby improving quality.

    These provider groups generally would get a flat per-patient fee, along with incentives for high-quality care, hopefully eliminating the incentive for unnecessary tests and procedures, and encouraging greater focus on preventing serious health problems from developing in the first place.

    I’ll be amazed if Massachusetts can pull this off anytime soon. Is this an election-year stunt? Stay tuned.

    • My first instinct is to mock:

      “Committee on the Status of Payment Reform Legislation”

      Next we need the Committee on the Committee of the Change of Status of Payment Reform Legislation (kind of makes me think of Dean Werner…..”Double secret probation”)

      “Bigby said her goal is to present the Legislature with a plan for the transition by the end of the year to global payments, which lawmakers could then use to draft legislation”

      That should be an interesting hand-off.

      Reality sets in for me though, wistfully. Problem solvers and serious policy folks are going to have break through the third wall and do the inevitable, mainly, drop the shoe that has been waiting to drop for time immemorial. My call. Wont happen, needs to go down at the Federal level first through Medicare or big multi-payer demo. States will follow when the constituencies realize the jig is up.