Utah Pilot Project Seeks To Reduce Health Care Spending

A pilot project in Utah seeks to reduce "overuse of health care," which is partly related to the fee-for-service system of care. The Salt Lake Tribune reports: "As part of its 10-year effort to reform the health system, the Legislature in 2009 passed House Bill 165, directing the Office of Consumer Health Services to get providers and payers together to devise health care delivery and payment reform plans."

"Out of that was born this demonstration, which will change the way doctors providing health care for two initial groups of patients -- diabetics and pregnant women -- get paid. Doctors treating diabetics will be paid a monthly retainer fee, giving them the flexibility to innovate. If a patient would be better served by calling them at home to make sure they are taking their medications ...  doctors can do that without worrying about whether the insurance company is going to pay. If a patient has problems -- say a diabetic ends up in the emergency room for a preventable complication -- the doctor's monthly retainer fee goes down. Additionally, doctors will be paid a "mini" fee for service so they aren't discouraged from providing care" (Rosetta, 12/7).

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